How does the Province of Ontario regulate the tow truck services industry?

    The Ontario Highway Traffic Act regulates tow trucks as commercial vehicles requiring record logs, compliance with the rules of the road, separation from accident scenes on a King’s Highway, safety inspections and also prohibits acts “of significant risk to road safety and public interest” for drivers. The Consumer Protection Act, 2002 also requires a tow operator/driver to disclose key information to a client, including contact information of the tow provider, the location of the storage facility, applicable rates of service before tow, and the towing operator’s interests with a storage/repair facility. In addition, authorization is required by the client before towing, with a detailed invoice to be provided by the operator/driver.

    How do other Ontario municipalities regulate towing?

    Of the 444 Ontario municipalities, approximately 25 regulate the tow industry with varying approaches. This includes 19 municipalities that have implemented business licensing regimes for this industry. Others, like the City of Ottawa, have parking and traffic or towing related regulations, but do not regulate through municipal business licensing.

    How much will municipal regulations cost and who pays?

    As staff consider new regulations, the expected cost of administering and enforcing those regulations will be determined and reported to Council with options for cost recovery through user fees such as business licensing fees, where possible.