Owners of Whitehorse taxi companies, pawn shops may soon need criminal record checks – North

A bylaw proposed by the City of Whitehorse would require owners of taxi companies, pawn shops and second-hand stores to undergo a criminal record check as a condition of obtaining a business licence. 

The bylaw says no business licence for a taxi business would be issued to a person convicted of a sexual offence, drug trafficking or robbery.

Midhun Kalpak, owner of Premier Cabs, thinks the proposed city bylaw is a good idea. (Wayne Vallevand/CBC)

Taxi drivers are already required to have criminal record checks, but not the company owners. 

Dave Pruden, manager of bylaw services, says the bylaw is about public safety.  

“There are complaints from the public about certain behaviours within that industry,” Pruden said.

Midhun Kalpak, the owner of Premier Cabs in Whitehorse, thinks the bylaw is a good idea. He says owners sometimes take the wheel when their drivers are busy.

“I do think it’s a good thing because you don’t want anyone with a bad criminal history driving around a cab picking up passengers. I don’t think it is safe.”

Human rights issue?

The bylaw also says anyone convicted of theft, drug trafficking or the possession or sale of stolen property will not be permitted to operate a pawn shop or second-hand store. 

Mike Travill, owner of Mike’s New and Used Emporium, a downtown consignment store, does not agree with the bylaw. 

“The human rights commission, in my opinion, would rule it was discriminatory,” he said.

‘The human rights commission, in my opinion, would rule it was discriminatory,’ says Mike Travill, who owns a consignment store in Whitehorse. (CBC)

The Yukon Human Rights Commission says it’s not discrimination if treatment is based on criminal charges relevant to the employment. 

However, the bylaw could be an issue if the city doesn’t look at individual factors, such as how long ago the criminal activity took place and the person’s behaviour since, says Colleen Harrington, acting director of…

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