Towing Services Regulatory Review

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A tow truck removing a car from an accident scene.

The City regularly receives concerns and complaints related to towing services, particularly about:

  • Billing
  • Business practices
  • Safety on the road
  • Safety at accident scenes
  • Alleged illegal activities

Although the City regulates towing services through limited provisions found in the Traffic and Parking By-law, there is no business licensing or regulatory regime for the towing industry. We are reviewing if regulations are needed for towing companies, tow truck drivers and storage yards in Ottawa.

Thank you to those who provided input on potential towing regulations during our consultation period. We have reviewed the comments received, and a “What We Heard” document was released in the Fall of 2020 that outlined the City`s consultation results.

Province of Ontario’s Towing Review

On June 29, 2020, the Province of Ontario announced that it was establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The Provincial task force will help develop a regulatory model with the stated goals of increasing safety and enforcement, clarifying protections for consumers and improving industry standards, and considering tougher penalties for violators.

On March 2nd, 2021, the Province of Ontario announced the launch of a Joint Forces Operation between the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police services, as well as a Tow Zone Pilot, to improve the safety and enforcement of the towing industry in Ontario. These announcements were based on the recommendations of the Provincial Towing Task Force, which recently published its recommendations and findings, as well as an overview of its research.

The City of Ottawa is working with Provincial counterparts on the task force and monitoring the outcome of the provincial review, with a view to ensuring that recommendations for municipal towing regulations align with and complement provincial initiatives for this industry. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. City staff will be reporting findings and recommendations for municipal towing regulations to the Community and Protective Services Committee and Council once all research, consultations and policy development are complete.

Stay up-to-date on the towing review by subscribing to our Engage Ottawa project page. You can also email your questions to towingregulations@ottawa.ca.

The City regularly receives concerns and complaints related to towing services, particularly about:

  • Billing
  • Business practices
  • Safety on the road
  • Safety at accident scenes
  • Alleged illegal activities

Although the City regulates towing services through limited provisions found in the Traffic and Parking By-law, there is no business licensing or regulatory regime for the towing industry. We are reviewing if regulations are needed for towing companies, tow truck drivers and storage yards in Ottawa.

Thank you to those who provided input on potential towing regulations during our consultation period. We have reviewed the comments received, and a “What We Heard” document was released in the Fall of 2020 that outlined the City`s consultation results.

Province of Ontario’s Towing Review

On June 29, 2020, the Province of Ontario announced that it was establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. The Provincial task force will help develop a regulatory model with the stated goals of increasing safety and enforcement, clarifying protections for consumers and improving industry standards, and considering tougher penalties for violators.

On March 2nd, 2021, the Province of Ontario announced the launch of a Joint Forces Operation between the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police services, as well as a Tow Zone Pilot, to improve the safety and enforcement of the towing industry in Ontario. These announcements were based on the recommendations of the Provincial Towing Task Force, which recently published its recommendations and findings, as well as an overview of its research.

The City of Ottawa is working with Provincial counterparts on the task force and monitoring the outcome of the provincial review, with a view to ensuring that recommendations for municipal towing regulations align with and complement provincial initiatives for this industry. Further information will be provided as it becomes available. City staff will be reporting findings and recommendations for municipal towing regulations to the Community and Protective Services Committee and Council once all research, consultations and policy development are complete.

Stay up-to-date on the towing review by subscribing to our Engage Ottawa project page. You can also email your questions to towingregulations@ottawa.ca.

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