TORONTO: The Ontario government is making our roads and highways safer by launching a Joint Forces Operation team to address violence in the towing industry and introducing a tow zone pilot on designated sections of provincial highways.
Ontario’s provincial towing task force has also recommended additional actions to better protect customers and improve towing industry safety, including establishing an oversight model of the towing and storage industry, exploring licensing for tow truck drivers, and introducing clearer equipment standards.
“The ongoing violence in the towing industry is unacceptable, which is why our government is taking action to make the towing industry safer through strengthened oversight and standards,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation.
Based on recommendations from the provincial towing task force established last year, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and municipal police services will form a Joint Forces Operation team to investigate criminal activity in the towing industry with the goal of enhancing consumer protection and public safety.
The province will also launch the first phase of a pilot that would introduce restricted tow zones on designated sections of provincial highways to help clear highways faster and safer.
Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said: “This operation will root out criminals and ensure that decisive actions can take place to address incidents of violence in the towing industry.”
In response to the recommendations of the task force, the province intends to propose legislation that would, if passed, enhance standards and improve safety. The province is also forming a new technical advisory group made up of representatives from towing companies, consumer advisory groups, automobile insurance companies, municipalities, and law enforcement organizations.
“We are thrilled to see the results of the provincial towing task force, including the introduction of a tow zone pilot that will provide faster and safer towing services to truck drivers traveling on some of Ontario’s busiest highways,” said Geoffrey Wood, Senior Vice President, Ontario Trucking Association.
“We commend the Ontario government for developing a plan to increase safety and oversight for the towing industry that responds to the needs of the industry,” said Mark Graves, President of the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario.
• The task force included representatives from the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Ministry of Finance, the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police.
• The findings are based on consultation with more than 70 stakeholders in the towing, consumer, insurance, municipal and law enforcement sectors.