New contract spells the end for towing wars in Brant County

by Avi Patel

Paris, Ontario — July 23, 2013 — Gridlocked for almost four years, Brant County’s contentious towing company operators appear to have finally come to an agreement between Brant police services board, the now former Towing Association County of Brant and the several towing companies it arbitrarily dropped in 2009. The board has signed off on a three-year contract with the Brant Towing Group which had proposed to be a formation of a group of towing companies operating in the County of Brant, agreeing with and adopting all existing rules and bylaws while acting as an independent 24-hour dispatch service maintaining an operators roster and overlooking all motor vehicles seized, detained or stolen as well as police managed motor vehicle accidents.

This agreement is the result of disputes that began four years prior when the previous towing association decided to drop several companies on the basis of new rules. Ed Derus of E.D. Towing & Recovery is the president of the newly formed Brant Towing Group and one of the companies that were excluded in 2009. “I’ve been towing for the Ontario Provincial Police for 16 years and they kicked me out arbitrarily citing new rules that they made, including a stipulation that a member must make more than 50 per cent of their revenue from towing,” says Derus, who also runs an automotive service and repair company. “The last Towing Association was exclusionary, they ran a monopolistic operation, and decided to not allow people who had been in the rotation for many, many years prior to the TACB taking control.”

There were enough complaints and accusations shot at the previous towing association that the board floated the idea of a public procurement which could have included an out-of-county contractor. Derus
headed the proposal sent to the County of Brant urging the formation of a new towing association on June 15, 2012 which has now come into fruition after numerous delays and includes all previous members as well as the four companies that were dropped.

“It’s going to be a relief, this system will be simple, no cover-ups. Everyone will be informed and comfortable,” says Derus. “The complexity with the previous towing association made it difficult to get a snapshot of what was going on. The way they conducted business was not transparent, no reports were made available and you couldn’t ask for financial records. The call allocation report was being written by an executive of the previous towing association which is a conflict of interest, it really needs to be done by a third party.”

The three-year contract includes a fee schedule for responses at police request, per-kilometre charge rates when towing a vehicle to storage, and the use of certain equipment for basic towing services. With the brunt of the battle now over, only some legal paperwork remains, including the letters of incorporation that will recognize Brant Towing Group as a not-for-profit organization

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