Shaken and Stirred

The scoop on Ontario’s new towing regulations

By Max Reid

This past year has shaken the Ontario towing industry to its very foundations, and we aren’t even talking about COVID. Widespread corruption, on the part of Ontario police departments at both the municipal and provincial level, as well as within the towing community itself, has been brought to light on a major scale.

Project Platinum from the York Regional Police, and a number other similar police investigations have been launched in response to a growing concern around crime in the industry: from coercion and heavy-handed business practices, to guns, theft and high-level police corruption.

The Ontario government thought that they had come to a compromise in March when they laid out their plans for re-zoning the towing industry in the Greater Toronto Area, by assigning tow operators to geographically appropriate zones.

The “Restricted Tow Zone Pilot”, as it would come to be called, saw the division of GTA highways into four separate zones splitting into different directions away from the city.

This was the government’s compromise in addressing incidents of corruption and violence occurring between tow operators. However, a compromise functions best when all parties in question are actually present at the negotiating table.

The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario (PTAO) asserts they were never consulted about these changes to the regulations, and that the government continues to give them the cold shoulder when it comes to reconciling this issue that is widely regarded as unfair in the Ontario towing community. “The PTAO has made numerous requests to meet with the Premier of Ontario to discuss solutions to an industry fraught with corruption and safety issues,” wrote the organization in an open letter from May 14.

“The Provincial Government continues to ignore the requests of the PTAO to meet, resulting in the need to escalate our concerns through legal counsel. “The lack of consultation and appropriate stakeholder research is necessary to determine the required Government Regulations and policies that will provide safe towing on our highways.”

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