Ontario’s proposed towing and storage rules to bring big changes: tow operator

Windsor, Ontario — October 29, 2015 — There are only a few days left to submit feedback on the province’s proposed towing regulations—which could potentially hurt select businesses, according to a local tow truck driver. The government has been consulting with industry stakeholders since early 2015 to assist in the development of recommendations following changes initiated by The Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 (Bill 15). Rallying tow truck drivers took issue with the Act ahead of its passing on November 20, 2014, voicing concerns related to anticipated price hikes and workday restrictions. These concerns have not subsided, County Towing Operations Manager and Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO) member Derek Didone told CBC News. Under the proposed regulations, tow truck drivers would be limited to 13 hour days and a maximum of 60 hours per week, working under the authority of the Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration. Didone says these changes could make it challenging for towers to do their jobs as they do today. “For our drivers, who make commission—and most of the industry does—they take the trucks home at night, to work at night, so that they can make a living at it,” he said in the report. “They may only do one or two calls throughout that entire night shift, but they’re on duty, so that counts against their hours.” He says this is of special worry as winter approaches. “During a snowstorm, everybody works around the clock, taking their breaks. It’s not like we’re driving hundreds and hundreds of miles without taking a break. But because we’re on duty, we’ll be restricted to the hours that we can service the consumer,” he adds. Didone says he also fears the new rules will cause tow companies to shut down if they can’t get drivers to do the work. He says service providers have been dropping at a rate of 15 percent per year, and there are around 900 registered tow operations in Ontario. “That drops any more, you thin the heard, you are going to have to hire a company from further away, which is going to increase the consumer cost for travel to them,” he says. While Didone sees a focus on driver training and setting requirements for insurance as positives, he says he thinks the proposed regulations are more so targeting problems exclusive to larger cities, specifically those found in Toronto and Ottawa. The recommendations stem from amendments to the the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 (CPA) and the Repair and Storage Liens Act (RSLA), as a component of Bill 15—designed to establish tow and storage specific consumer protection measures and to address storage notification and related issues. Public consultation on the regulations closes on October 31, 2015. To submit feedback online, and to learn more about the proposed regulations, please visit ontariocanada.com/registry.

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