New Year, New Rules: Ont. tow and storage operators must be certified, ascribe to new Code of Conduct, according to new provincial towing legislations

Toronto, Ontario —New towing legislation in Ontario will require all tow and storage operators be certified by the province and possess identification cards to prove such, among other changes enacted Jan. 1 by the Ont. government.

Under the new legislation, tow and storage operators must be certified by the province and have an identification card as proof.

Further, effective Jan. 1, tow truck drivers and operators:

  • Must notify the vehicle owner if the vehicle is taken to a location that is different from the one the owner specified;
  • Must not charge more than the rates published on the Government of Ontario’s website or in the regulations to the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021;
  • Must accept multiple forms of payment;
  • Must not solicit vehicle owners to consent to other services, including vehicle storage services;
  • Must not refer vehicle owners to any medical or legal services, and refer them to another towing, vehicle storage or repair business only on the owner’s request; and
  • Must not disclose any interest they have or benefit they may receive from a referral at the time of making the referral.

The legislation will also apply consistent rules to all tow and storage operators in Ontario. Previously, only some municipalities in the province regulated towing and storage through local by-laws, all of which were different and provided varying levels of consumer protection.

Tow truck drivers and operators also must ascribe to a new Code of Conduct.

From the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the Tow Truck Driver and Operator Code of Conduct, as of Jan. 1, 2024.

Consumers will also have access to a portal where they can submit complaints or concerns about tow and storage operators who are in violation of the new regulations. They also undoubtedly have the right to:

  • Decide who tows their vehicle and where it is towed to;
  • Receive and review the “Consent to Tow” form and “Maximum Rate Schedule” before towing begins (IBC recommends that you do not sign a blank form);
  • Receive an unaltered copy of the signed “Consent to Tow” form;
  • Receive an itemized invoice before paying and a receipt when they pay;
  • Choose the payment method, including credit, debit and contactless payment from their phone;
  • Contact the Ministry of Transportation if they have any concerns about the towing service they received or the conduct of the tow truck driver or tow operator; and
  • Permit their auto insurer representative to engage directly with towing and storage operators to help expedite the claim process. The insurance representative will have the right to consent to towing services, access vehicles and request their release.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has implemented these changes in an effort to control towing rates and regional territory disputes. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the provincial government began work on the new legislation in 2023 with the intention of providing protection for consumers against towing and storage fraud, according to a recent announcement made by the IBC.

According to the IBC, “these new regulations are an important step toward reducing fraud in the insurance system and making auto insurance more affordable for everyone.”


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