04/19/2013 02:23 EDT | Updated 06/19/2013 05:12 EDT

City needs more power to suspend taxi licences: councillor

The city should be able to immediately suspend the licences of cab drivers when it is in the public interest to do so, says a councillor who believes that right of appeal should be eliminated in these same cases.

At a municipal licensing and standards committee meeting on Thursday, Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker moved a motion directing staff to examine the tribunal process governing taxi drivers.

De Baeremaeker would like to give staff the power to immediately suspend the licence of a taxi driver, if staff believe it is "in the public interest" to do so.

The Scarborough Centre councillor would also like to eliminate the right of appeal for certain violent or sexual offences.

De Baeremaeker worries that the current tribunal process allows drivers to continue working even when they are facing serious charges.

"In terms of weighing the pros and cons of who we should protect, I say we have to protect passengers," he told CBC News in an interview on Thursday.

De Baeremaeker would also like to expand the offences for which a cab driver cannot be permitted to hold a licence, so that any sexual assault conviction would lead to immediate licence termination.

Staff are due to report back on the issue in September.

After hearing about the councillor’s proposed changes, Sajid Mughal, a cab driver and the president of Toronto's iTaxiworkers Assocation, said he believes his industry doesn't want anyone behind the wheel who is a problem.

"But by the same token, the whole industry should not be punished because of a handful of criminals, or a handful of individuals. So it should be a balanced approach from the city’s point of view," Mughal said.