Ontario towing pilot project sets rates and rights

Ontario will introduce a series of restricted towing zones along provincial highways beginning Dec. 13 in a bid to clear collisions and vehicle breakdowns more quickly.

Under the Ontario Ministry of Transportation pilot program, only authorized towing companies will be able to complete a tow, and they’ll need to follow a set table of fees.

(Illustration: MTO)

“Previous challenges with towing operators charging trucking companies for four-hour minimums for the removal of disabled vehicles will no longer be permitted and the owners of the vehicles will have the right to decide where their vehicles are taken,” the Ontario Trucking Association said in a related statement.

Locations for the pilot project include:

  • Highway 401 from Hwy. 400 east to Morningside
  • Highway 401 from Hwy. 400 west to Regional Road 25
  • Highway 427 from QEW to Hwy. 409
  • Highway 409 from Hwy. 427 to Hwy. 401
  • Highway 400 from Hwy. 401 to Hwy. 9
  • QEW from Hwy. 427 to Brant St.

The affected routes cover about 119 km, stretching between Newmarket, Burlington and Markham.

Towing for breakdowns and impoundments will be based on a flat rate that includes a 10-km distance, while towing and recovery after collisions is based on an hourly rates. The hourly charges are set in 30-minute increments after the first hour.

Rates for heavy-duty wreckers range from $650 per hour for a 40-ton rotator to $850 per hour for a rotator certified for 75 tons or higher. Heavy-duty wreckers with fixed booms will see hourly rates range from $450 (30 tons) to $600 (45 tons).

Authorized towing companies will need to offer an itemized invoice listing provided services and their costs before asking for payment. And the businesses are not to solicit or recommend services relating to vehicle sales, repair shops, body shops, garages, or legal or medical services.