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Uber says it's backing down on its threat to cease operations in Quebec starting Saturday, citing a willingness to engage in "constructive dialogue" with the new transport minister.

The ride-hailing company wants the government to ease up on proposed regulations that would require drivers to undergo 35 hours of training and have criminal background checks done by a police force.

But in a statement Friday, Uber said it received information that it would take a few months to enforce the training requirement after the rules come into effect. In the meantime, the company said, it is willing to continue negotiating with the government.

Uber sent a letter, signed by general manager Jean-Nicolas Guillemette, to its drivers and passengers Friday morning to explain the situation and thank them for their support.

Transport Minister André Fortin made it clear Friday morning that the province would be standing firm.

"My job is to put a regulatory framework in place. Whether a specific private company decides to operate within it, it's not for me to be for or against that," Fortin told CBC Montreal's Daybreak.

However, he said: "I don't think we can stick our heads in the sand in Quebec and go back to the good old years of the 1950s."

If Uber doesn't operate in Quebec, there is room for similar companies to take its place, he said.

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Uber backs down on threat to leave Quebec - Montreal - CBC News