The ride-hailing company Lyft, a major rival to Uber in the United States, is moving to gain ground internationally.

Lyft announced on Monday that it planned to begin operating in Toronto, its first international location, in time for the holiday season.

The company, which has benefited from several scandals at Uber, is trying to raise the stakes in its rivalry with its much larger competitor. Lyft has begun exploring an initial public offering in 2018, and is in the process of raising $1 billion in financing, getting support from Alphabet’s venture investment arm, CapitalG, along the way.

Lyft has also been jockeying for space in the self-driving car sector, agreeing in September to a partnership with Ford Motor Company to develop autonomous-vehicle designs and technology, and opening a research facility in Palo Alto, Calif.

The company’s expansion into Canada highlights its ambitions to challenge Uber farther afield.

“We have had our sights set on international expansion for months, and the Canadian market is an obvious fit for Lyft’s culture, values and the service that we provide,” Logan Green, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. Lyft will start its service in Toronto next month, he added.

Lyft has high hopes for the Toronto market. John Zimmer, the company’s president and co-founder, told The Toronto Star that he expected the Canadian city to eventually become one of Lyft’s five largest markets.

To entice drivers, Lyft is offering a 25 percent bonus for the first 3,000 drivers who are approved and who complete 20 rides a week during the company’s first three months of operation in Toronto.

In addition to Toronto, Lyft plans to operate in the city’s suburbs and in nearby Hamilton, Ontario. The company faces a variety of regulations as it prepares to do business in the area, which has a population of more than seven million people. Mississauga, the largest of Toronto’s suburbs and home to the area’s international airport, has let Uber operate only on a trial basis since March and plans to review its rules in 2019.

Uber, which began operating in Toronto five years ago, has encountered resistance in Canada. Taxi drivers have protested against the company for not following the same rules as the taxi industry. At one point, Toronto officials sought to ban Uber, but Ontario’s Superior Court refused that request in 2015.

Uber has “upended the taxi industry” in Toronto since its arrival and has achieved a great deal of popularity and commercial success, but it nevertheless remains “controversial and contentious,” said Shauna Brail, the director of the urban studies program at the University of Toronto.

Professor Brail said it was unclear what impact Lyft’s entry into the local market would have. But she noted that the city was growing in importance as a center for research into artificial intelligence, an important technology in the self-driving cars that Lyft and others are working to develop.

Uber opened a research center in Toronto this year, and Google has established a branch of its A.I. research center in the city. General Motors announced last year that it would add 700 software engineers to offices in the Toronto area whose work would include developing autonomous cars.

Lyft made its announcement just hours after Uber completed a deal to sell a stake to the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, a move that paves the way for sweeping governance changes at the ride-hailing behemoth, as well as for that company’s own initial public offering.

Uber has been trying to repair its image, with Dara Khosrowshahi, the new chief executive, pushing a softer tone and a set of cultural values that includes the maxim, “We do the right thing. Period.”

The company suffered a setback in London last week when a British employment tribunal rejected its argument that the company’s drivers were self-employed. The ruling, upholding an earlier court judgment, threatens Uber’s hiring model in Britain.

In September, London’s transport regulator revoked Uber’s license to operate in the British capital, its biggest market outside the United States, saying the company was not “fit and proper” to operate there. Uber is appealing the ruling, and can continue to operate in London until the appeals process is completed.

Lyft, by contrast, has so far limited its expansion to the United States. The company has, however, had several meetings with London transport officials, according to documents published by Transport for London, the city’s transportation authority. Lyft has given presentations about its business model and discussed the London mayor’s transport strategy, raising the prospect that it could seek to expand there as well.

The company has tried to project a friendlier image to distinguish itself from Uber. Speaking to The Toronto Star, Mr. Zimmer said the company was focused on “treating people well.”

Kristine Hubbard, the operations manager for Beck Taxi in Toronto, said her family-owned firm would make no effort to block Lyft.

“Bring it on — I don’t care,” Ms. Hubbard said. “We’ve had to compete before, and we’ll continue to compete.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the details of a program of study at the University of Toronto. The urban studies program is not part of the Munk School of Global Affairs. The director of the urban studies program, Shauna Brail, is also a senior associate at the Munk School.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B2 of the New York edition with the headline: Lyft Will Begin Operations in Toronto, Its First Market Outside the U.S.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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