Ontario tries to clean up towing industry

by Today's Trucking

TORONTO, Ont. — Ontario has announced the creation of a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry, mired in turf wars and allegations of price gouging.

“The party is over for the bad actors who are engaged in violence and criminal activity in the towing industry.”

– Premier Doug Ford

The task force will help develop a regulatory model that will increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers, improve industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators, the province said Monday.

Photo: Today’s Trucking

“The party is over for the bad actors who are engaged in violence and criminal activity in the towing industry,” Premier Doug Ford told his daily Covid-19 briefing.

“Setting up this task force will help us bring together experts to develop ways to better protect drivers, operators and inspectors.”

The task force, which has already met twice, will review a number of topics related to the industry, which could include provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks.

“Enough is Enough” – Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney. Photo: Ontario Legislature.

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney voiced frustration over continuing violence and other criminal activity in the industry.

“These incidents are completely unacceptable and pose a threat to the safety of operators and everyone who uses our highways” she said.

“Enough is enough.”

Membership of the task force will include representatives from various ministries as well as the Ontario Provincial Police.

Once the task force has developed proposals for discussion and comment, it will be consulting with industry, municipalities and public safety experts, the province said.

OTA welcomes move

The Ontario Trucking Association welcomed the initiative, saying it had been working with various stakeholders since 2017 to bring change to the sector. 

“With the full weight of the provincial government and police forces behind the movement to bring accountability and transparency to towing, the trucking industry can be assured we won’t fall victim to the small, but growing, segment of asphalt pirates who make their living by gouging unsuspecting trucking companies who are involved in collisions or breakdowns on Ontario highways,” said OTA chairman David Carruth.

With provincial oversight in place, the association said it is confident price gouging will disappear. 

There are about 1,600 tow truck companies registered in the Ministry of Transportation’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) program.

A valid CVOR certificate is required to operate a tow truck.

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  • This needs to happen A S A P . Many trucking have been overcharged. I demonstrated 8 years ago against a good unfair bill. I camped out at the entrance of the towing company for 4 days until a compromise was done on the bill with some help by the traffic division of the O P P. I know a tow truck is expensive but tow truck insurance companies are also overcharged small tow operaters. I had hassen towing 11 years ago tell me that the bill would so much it was a 1000 more for storage after the owner told if had proof the hospital stay storage would not be charged.

  • Well, stupid and greedy idiots, played out ?!)))
    Remember, the greedy always pays twice !!! And it will be with everyone who is trying to dishonestly profit from truckers, including brokers, dealers and mechanics. !!! As a result, all that they earn today will lose more.

  • Well here’s an eye opener for the truckers that have been lucky enough not to have have one of the towing vultures pick up and tow your truck.
    Back in 2017 my truck broke down east bound 401 and Dixon rd called my tow company Elliott’s out of Bradford to tow my truck and trailer to Bradford 585.00 including tax.
    Steve’s towing arrived about 15 minutes before Elliot’s and because my drivers side wheels were about a foot on the merging ramp for Dixon rd east bound Steve’s towing was DEMANDING he tow the truck and trailer off the ramp. THE NICE OPP officer said No as I had a truck almost there,Steve’s Towing driver threatened to report the officer.
    I called the OPP Officer a week later to thank him and tell him the price I paid for the tow, to my surprise the officer said Steve’s Towing would have charged 2500.00 just to get the truck off the road and payment would Only be CASH no Visa or Master card and if I did not have cash then storage until I did pay, didn’t ask about storage prices. The Officer said there was nothing he could do about price Steve’s Towing would have charged.
    It is about time the provincial government stepped in to regulate the pricing and practices of the towing industry.

  • Get roadside assistance. Never ever travel on any 400 series highways without it. This way you cannot be over charged. Canadian tire roadside gold is under $100 and once you have used up your 5 service calls. Then you have unlimited tows to the nearest Canadian Tire service center. You also get a free oil change. That’s $40-$50 alone. Plus many extras. That’s just one example. There is many to pick from. If you drive. Make it a priority to get roadside. It will pay for itself 3 times over with just one tow of the 401 in T.O. Merry Christmas to all. Drive safe. Use winter tires slow down and arrive home safe.

  • Steve’s Towing is holding my car hostage, they refuse to release it to my insurance company, they should be changed criminally.