With the New Year’s arrival, Ontario has introduced new towing industry regulations aimed at protecting consumers and reducing the risk of fraud when drivers are in a vulnerable position.
Starting January 1, 2024, towing and storage operators are required to be certified by the province of Ontario. Previously this was handled by municipalities, which created some inconsistencies with regulations and varying levels of protection for drivers by region. With the new regulations, the intention is to provide better protections for consumers and give more choice of who tows their vehicle, where it goes, and how to pay for those services.
In addition, a new code of conduct has been introduced for tow truck operators that includes an emphasis on professionalism, integrity, acting in good faith, upholding public safety, and more.
The insurance industry is welcoming these changes as it will help provide consistent regulations for consumers and is aimed at reducing potential fraud in this space. This new approach also provides an easier set of rules across the province for towing and storage operators to understand and follow.
New Ontario Consumers Rights for Towing and Storage Services
Consumers have new rights when it comes to towing and storage services. Beginning January 1, 2024, automobile drivers in Ontario can:
- Decide who tows their vehicle and where it is towed to
- Receive and review the “Consent to Tow” form and “Maximum Rate Schedule” before towing begins (Pro Tip: Do not sign a blank form)
- Receive an unaltered copy of the signed “Consent to Tow” form
- Receive an itemized invoice before paying and a receipt when payment is made
- Choose the payment method, including credit, debit, and contactless payment from their phone
- Contact the Ministry of Transportation if they have any concerns about the towing service they received or the conduct of the tow truck driver or tow operator
- Permit their auto insurer representative to engage directly with towing and storage operators to help expedite the claim process. The insurance representative will have the right to consent to towing services, access vehicles, and request their release
New Requirements for Tow Truck Drivers in Ontario
In addition to new protections for consumers, tow truck drivers and operators also have new requirements, which are also aimed at providing consumers with protection, safety, and transparency:.
- Notify the vehicle owner if the vehicle is taken to a location that is different from the one the owner specified.
- Not charge more than the rates published on the Government of Ontario’s website or in the regulations to the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act, 2021
- Accept multiple forms of payment
- Not solicit vehicle owners to consent to other services, including vehicle storage services.
- Not refer vehicle owners to any medical or legal services. Additionally, only refer owners to another towing, vehicle storage, or repair business at the owner’s request
- Disclose any interest they have or benefit they may receive from a referral at the time of making the referral
When involved in a collision that requires towing and storage, it’s important to remember that you have additional rights and better protections in place. Keep these regulations in mind if you’re faced with a stressful situation following a collision.
. . .
Staebler Insurance is a general insurance broker specializing in car insurance, home insurance, small business, and commercial insurance. Staebler brokers proudly serve Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph, Stratford, Listowel, Fergus, Elora, Wellington County, Perth County, Waterloo Region and southern Ontario. Get a Quote to get started today.