Ontario Increasing Transparency for Drivers Using Towing & Vehicle Storage Services

New Rules Will Strengthen Consumer Protection

Tow Truck
Ontario Increasing Transparency for Drivers Using Towing & Vehicle Storage Services
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Nolan A Machan

Nolan A Machan

Nolan Machan is the Publisher of OakvilleNews.Org and has over 41 years of local Oakville knowledge. He is committed to providing Oakville residents with the most up-to-date information about our great town.

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Ontario is reminding consumers that, as of January 1, 2017, new requirements are in place for tow truck or vehicle storage services designed to increase transparency and strengthen consumer protection.

The new changes will ensure tow and storage providers:

  1. Have permission from the consumer or someone acting on their behalf before towing or storing a vehicle
  2. Publicly disclose rates and other information such as the provider’s name and telephone number on tow trucks as well as in places of business
  3. Accept credit card payments from consumers (and not insist on cash only)
  4. Notify consumers where their vehicle will be towed
  5. 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
  6. Give consumers an itemized invoice listing the services provided and costs before receiving payment
  7. Disclose if they are getting a financial incentive for towing a vehicle to a particular vehicle storage facility or repair shop.
  8. Protecting consumers is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Sixteen Ontario municipalities currently have by-laws that license towing businesses.
The new rules are being brought forward as a result of changes made by Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act.

Oakville, Ontario is managed by the Halton Regional Police Services which has the following polices regarding Vehicle Towing and Seizure:

As the registered owner and/or driver of a vehicle involved in a motor vehicle collision (MVC), you have the right to have your vehicle towed by the towing company of your choice to the location of your choice.

HRPS officers will continue to respond to collisions where involved vehicle(s) require a tow truck.

If you are involved in a MVC, you will be provided with the following options as they relate to the towing of your vehicle:

Owner’s Request:
Provided that the response time of the towing company is reasonable, you can use the towing company of your choice. This includes agencies such as CAA that have their own authorized towing companies.

Rotational Tow:
The Halton Regional Police Service has authorized a number of towing companies to tow vehicles involved in motor vehicle collisions on your behalf. These companies are assigned to particular accidents and vehicles on a rotational basis and adhere to stringent conditions set out by the HRPS.

Here is an up-to-date listing for HRPS authorized towing companies.

Secure Tow:
If you are unable to determine the type of tow due to injury or arrest, your vehicle will be seized and towed to a secure compound by an authorized HRPS towing company. You will be issued a vehicle release slip to retrieve your vehicle at a later time.

If Your Vehicle Is Towed

If your motor vehicle is towed to an authorized tow company compound:

  1. You will need to obtain a release slip from the police station in the District from which your vehicle was towed
  2. The release slip is then taken to the tow company compound
  3. Once the release slip is presented, along with payment of towing charges and storage fees, you can retrieve your car

If your Vehicle is Towed

If your vehicle is towed as a result of a by-law infraction:

  1. Your vehicle will be towed by an authorized tow company
  2. You will need to obtain a release slip (see above) and pay towing and storage fees to retrieve your motor vehicle

Costs
The rates set for towing were part of a tendering process in conjunction with the Region of Halton. Check with your towing company for exact rates and costs.

“Ontario’s roads are among the safest in North America. By including tow truck operators in the province’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration program we are improving road safety and are ensuring that we are effectively monitoring and overseeing operators, ” commented Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation.

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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