Blog May 31, 2021

A look at Uber’s impact on Canada’s economy


Author: Laura Miller, Head of Public Policy & Communications, Uber Canada

Our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic starts and ends with business. In this blog series, we look at the different ways Canadian businesses have contributed to helping lead our recovery.

Over the past year, amidst a global pandemic and an economic crisis, Uber pivoted to encourage consumers to stay home and stay safe. In these extraordinary circumstances, frontline workers trusted Uber for a safe ride, restaurants leaned on Uber Eats to transition their operations to delivery and takeout, and drivers and delivery people acted as everyday heroes to move essential items to Canadians coast to coast.

A new report, The Impact of Uber in Canada, was published by Public First earlier this month that quantified Uber’s impact in 2020. It found that Uber unlocked an estimated $6.5 billion in value for the Canadian economy, by saving time, expanding mobility, creating new business for restaurants and the hospitality industry, and providing flexible earning opportunities for thousands of drivers and delivery people in Canada.


Uber offers Canadians a safe, convenient, fast, and often sustainable way to travel

Over the last decade, Uber has increasingly become a part of everyday life. From getting home from a restaurant to travelling between meetings, helping carry heavy items to being there in an emergency, the availability of convenient, safe ridesharing services has become something many Canadians increasingly rely on. When riders were asked about the most important reasons why they used Uber, convenience came top (82%), with other factors such as reliability (81%) and safety (78%) seen as just as important as cost. When drilling down on safety, 81% of female riders say that safety is an important factor in their choice to use Uber. According to Public First’s research, Uber saves riders over 13 million hours a year – the equivalent of driving from Halifax to Vancouver over 230,000 times.


Uber enables a flexible source of income for drivers and delivery people

Drivers and delivery people overwhelmingly chose to use the Uber app because of the flexibility it provided, and the ability to control their own hours. The vast majority report being highly satisfied with their experience, and that Uber has helped them earn additional income. 89% of drivers and delivery people say that schedule flexibility is important to them when looking for work, and a majority of drivers said that they would rather retain the right to choose their own hours, even if the alternative was a 20% increase in earnings. It is estimated that this increased flexibility is worth $323 million to drivers and delivery people.


Uber is an economic multiplier for restaurants, cafes, and local businesses

During the last year, Uber Eats helped provide vital continuing income to restaurants, while in a more normal year Uber helps provide a safer way to get home late at night, and fill in the gaps where public transport does not reach or is not as convenient. In 2020, Uber Eats drove an additional $570 million to restaurants in Canada, creating $2.3 billion in gross economic value.

The full report is available here to read through. As the largest mobility platform in the world, we have a responsibility to all of the drivers and delivery people who earn on the platform, as well as the cities in which we operate and everyone who uses our services. We’ll use this report’s findings as a benchmark for the coming years, so we can continue to drive Canada’s recovery.