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Towing the Line: Ontario police expand requirements for tow operators applying for requested service status

Toronto, Ontario — As the one-year mark on a number of major overhauls to Ontario’s towing industry approaches tow truck operators looking to reapply as OPP-requested services are on the hook to complete their own criminal record checks this time around following a series of updates to the provincial program.

Towing and Storage Service Operators (TSSOs) in Ontario who wish to be on the Ontario Provincial Police’s request list are now required under the province’s revamped towing program to complete their own electronic criminal record check, in addition to the application specifying which police detachment they wish to partner with, in time for the Oct. 15 deadline.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt of the OPP’s Highway Traffic Safety division told BarrieToday Tuesday that these changes to the program are intended to benefit both tow truck operators and drivers.

“If we’re going to call a tow truck on behalf of a member of the public, we want to know who they are, if they have the proper credentials and equipment and that we have a way of recourse in case there are any problems so we can follow up,” said Schmidt.

“We don’t want to take just anyone off the road with a winch on the back of their truck.”

Operators outside the borders of the GTA tow zones will see no changes to the way dispatching works, with the exception that only TSSOs on the OPP’s request list will receive calls from police for assistance, where previously towing outside the GTA remained somewhat of a free-for-all for police-related business.

A supervisor at Classic Towing in Barrie, Ont., Craig Jones told BarrieToday that he feels these changes to the provincial program will help instill a little bit more fairness into the industry.

“This is a way to make it an even playing field. I believe all those companies that are in that tow zone area basically charge the same price,” said Jones.

“They [the OPP] are just trying to get rid of all the people who shouldn’t be towing. Throughout the years, customers have been getting ripped off, insurance companies have been getting ripped off, and this helps bring stability to the industry.”

The documentation to apply to become an OPP-requested TSSO can be found here.

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