Ontario Increasing Transparency for Drivers Using Towing and Vehicle Storage Services

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As of January 1st, 2017, there are new requirements in place for tow truck or vehicle storage services that are designed to increase transparency and strengthen consumer protection.

  • These changes will make sure that there is permission from the consumer or someone acting on their behalf before towing or storing a vehicle.
  • Public disclosure of rates and other information such as the provider’s name and telephone number on tow trucks as well as in places of business,
  • Accept credit card payments from consumers (and not insist on cash only),
  • Notify consumers where their vehicle will be towed,
  • Allow consumers to access their towed vehicles to remove personal property at no charge between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on all business days
  • Give consumers an itemized invoice listing the services provided and costs before receiving payment, and
  • Disclose if they are getting a financial incentive for towing a vehicle to a particular vehicle storage facility or repair shop.

There are approximately 1,200 tow truck businesses, with 3,000 tow truck drivers in Ontario. These new rules are being brought forward as a result of changes made by Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act. The province is also taking action to improve the safety of tow trucks and their operators by including tow trucks in the province’s existing Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration system as of January 1, 2017. This change will improve road safety through government monitoring and enforcement measures.

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