05/13/2013 05:02 EDT | Updated 07/13/2013 05:12 EDT

Quebec taxi drivers to face mandatory background checks

Quebec’s ministry of transport has plans in the works to rid the streets of taxi drivers with criminal records.

Provincial law restricts drivers from obtaining a taxi permit if they have been convicted (and not pardoned) of a criminal offence related to taxi service in the last five years.

But that rule has not been enforced.

Montreal taxi drivers are rarely asked to submit to a criminal record check and the government says it's time to make sure the law is being applied.

The proposal would require drivers applying for a taxi permit to submit a certificate proving they don’t have a criminal history.

The police background check would cost drivers a $70 fee.

The ministry is still in the process of deciding which crimes would warrant a taxi driver's license being rejected.

“It's more a preventive thing, because the taxi drivers are in contact with vulnerable persons, like seniors or young children,“ said Alexandra Reny, spokeswoman for Transports Québec.

Owner of Hochelaga-Beaubien Taxi, Dory Saliba, says the measures might help the industry improve its image.

But he said some drivers are concerned about the cost.

“The taxi drivers feel [they] always pay more than other industries.”

Transports Québec could not say when the new rules would be implemented.