Ontario launches towing task force

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced a new provincial task force to oversee the industry after numerous incidents of turf wars and recent charges in the sector.

The new task force will work alongside local police departments, the towing industry and municipal partners to develop a regulatory oversight model that is said to increase safety and enforcement, clarify protections for consumers, improve industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators.

“To all the bad actors out there, my message is very clear⁠—the party’s over,” said Ford. “We’re going to keep working with our police partners to bring these criminals to justice. Setting up this task force will help us bring together experts to develop ways to better protect drivers, operators and inspectors.”

Ford made the announcement on Monday at a news conference alongside Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney. He cited the recent Project Platinum investigation by York Regional Police, in which more than 200 charges were laid, including several against a veteran officer accused of stealing encrypted police radios and helping put them in the hands of tow truck operators.

Drivers would then rely on dispatch information to arrive first at accident scenes and secure “lucrative” towing jobs, according to York Regional Police.

In reviewing the mandate of the new task force, Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said practice would be among the many issues flagged for review.

“This is an element that contributes to the violence,” she said. “It’s certainly something that we will be looking at as part of the task force’s work.”

According to Mulroney, the task force will provide its recommendations by the end of July, which will then be shared with sector members and municipalities for input before any government action gets underway.

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