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Tow-tal Control: Ontario government looks to ‘strengthen oversight of towing sector’, introduce certification, standards and more

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— The Ontario government is looking to introduce legislation that seeks to “strengthen the province’s oversight of the towing sector,” along with measures to protect vulnerable road users and increase penalties for those engaging in high-risk driving behaviours.

Through the newly introduced Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021, the Ontario government has proposed to establish a certification system that would require tow truck operators, tow truck drivers and vehicle storage operators to require a provincial certificate.

The provincial government also seeks to introduce a Standards of Practice for the industry, with the intention of protecting customers. This will include vehicle and equipment requirements, invoicing practices, roadside behaviours⁠—such as how far back a tow truck should be if not requested at the scene⁠—and penalties for avoiding the regulated standards.

Finally, the province looks to appoint a Director of Towing and Vehicle Storage Standards to oversee the certification process and to appoint towing inspectors to enforce the Act and investigate any complaints.   

“The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario has been leading the towing industry through a provincial licencing model to elevate professionalism in towing,” said Mark Graves, president of the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario. “The legislation Premier Ford and Minister Mulroney are announcing today is the frame work required to implement a towing industry licencing system. The PTAO supports this legislation and looks forward to working directly with the government for implementation.”

The towing regulations come as part of the new Moving Ontarians More Safely Act (MOMS), which, if passed, will create tougher penalties for drivers caught engaging in unsafe and high-risk driving, such as street racing or stunt driving. 

According to the government, street racing and stunt driving offences have been trending upwards since 2015⁠—but Summer 2020 saw an even greater spike.

Proposed measures to combat stunt driving include increasing vehicle impoundment from seven days to 14 days; increasing roadside driver’s license suspensions from seven days to 30 days; lowing the threshold for laying street racing/stunt driving charges for those traveling 40 km/h or more above the posted limit on roads where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h and implementing stronger post-conviction license suspensions for repeat offenders.

For more information on Ontario’s proposed legislature, click here.

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