At this week’s Community and Protective Services Committee, staff provided an update on provincial regulation of the tow industry to determine if additional regulation of the industry is required following the introduction of new consumer protection measures introduced by the Province of Ontario and discussed at CPSC May 18, 2017.
The Province regulates tow truck operators and requires them to get permission before towing or storing cars. Operators must disclose their rates and contact information, along with any referral fees they could get from a storage facility or repair shop.
Staff shared that some of the measures taken since the initial changes include:
- Developing a communication strategy with Safer Road Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service to increase public and industry awareness of the provincial regulations
- Engaging with the Province to continue to educate the public and the industry of the provincial regulations
- Developing an information pamphlet to educate tow operators about the tow truck provisions of the Traffic and Parking By-law
- Developing a witness statement form for Ottawa Fire Services and Ottawa Paramedic Service to complete to assist with enforcement
Due to existing Provincial regulations, staff did not recommend municipal licensing at this time.
In addition, By-law and Regulatory Services has applied to the Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice for an increase of the set fines for these violations. This application is currently under review by the Ontario Court of Justice.
I am happy to hear of the progress done on behalf of the City to increase measures for protecting both consumers and the industry. I will continue working with staff to encourage the Province to add an increase to the fines.