How Does Uber Contribute to Canada’s Economy?

A digital drawing of money going into a phone to represent how Uber is an app-based generator of the economy.

Despite being in the Canadian market for less than a decade, it’s hard to imagine a world without Uber. Launched in 2009, but brought to Canada in 2012, the technology company is so ingrained in our lives, from getting you across town to bringing tonight’s dinner to your doorstep. But how much impact does it have on our economy? Well, a lot.

According to a recent report, developed by Public First, Uber contributed approximately $6.5 billion in economic value in Canada in 2020. During a year that saw Canadian workers freefall into the unknown due, Uber allowed their drivers and delivery people to flourish, helped local restaurants get their food into the hands of house-bound customers, and even played a role in helping our frontline workers.

For the restaurant industry

“I think that Uber was able to add a lot of value, in no small part, thanks to the UberEats business, in addition to the ride business,” said Jonathan Hall, Uber’s Chief Economist. “But also because a lot of people, especially critical workers and healthcare staff, found new uses for rides that they hadn’t found before.”

Within the report, it was found that Uber Eats added an additional $570 million to restaurants in Canada, resulting in $2.3 billion in gross economic value. And Hall believes that number will continue to grow, even in a post-pandemic world. Seventy percent of Uber Eats users agreed that the app helped them discover new restaurants, which offers hope for thriving local restaurant scenes for years to come.

For drivers and delivery people

As for its drivers and delivery people, despite working during one of the most taxing years in recent memory, 75 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with their experience. As Uber offers the unique ability to choose when, where, and how long one works, the company’s flexibility was a key component to keeping drivers and delivery people happy. 

They can work for an hour, they can stop working whenever they want and they can pick it up again, whenever they want,” said Hall about the importance of flexibility. “Most work doesn’t have that. And so perhaps, not surprisingly, the people who take advantage of app-based work gain a lot of value from that flexibility.”

In fact, the majority of drivers and delivery people said they’d prefer to keep their flexible hours over a 20 percent increase in earnings, which the report estimates would be worth $323 million.

Additionally, the company is exploring a concept called Flexible Work+. Though still under development, this new proposal aims to help drivers and delivery people of app-based work receive benefits and protections, while still keeping the flexibility they value. 

For Uber customers

In conjunction with the flexibility for drivers and delivery people, the on-demand service’s convenience was also a key factor for why many Uber customers (82 percent) chose the app. With that convenience also comes time saved; the report found that Canadian riders save an estimated 13 million hours a year thanks to Uber’s services.

The company hopes to continue to be of service to communities across the country. Currently, 19 million Canadians have access to Uber’s apps, and the company has plans to continue to expand coast to coast. In the last year, the company expanded further out east, in New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, and added more participating municipalities on the west coast as well. No matter where it is offered, Hall said, “It’s very important to Uber to be a responsible and helpful member of every community it operates in.”

For community building

The company showed this dedication to supporting their communities with a strong stance in support of anti-racism last summer during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. And now, they’re contributing to communities by removing barriers to vaccines, whether that’s through increasing vaccine confidence or providing a way for Canadians to get to vaccine appointments. 

Looking forward, Uber is eager to find new ways to integrate into Canada’s economy and continue to improve communities in the years to come. Currently, they operate the well-known Uber and Uber Eats. And have also added on a logistic division, UberFreight, and a grocery-delivery service, Cornershop by Uber in recent years

As the world continues to open up and evolve with time, Hall is confident that Uber will continue to be a major contributor to the Canadian economy and be a leader in changing the way we think about transportation.

People are discovering new-use cases on Uber, and coming off the pandemic, we’re optimistic that more people will give up their personal cars in favour of multi-modal transportation that’s ultimately more sustainable, better for cities.”

You can read the full Impact of Uber on Canada report here.

Illustration by Tatyana Krasutskaya from Ouch!

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