The Ford government is cracking down on the tow-truck industry, planning to bring in a licensing regime and divvy up stretches of roadway for each individual tow company.
The government says its introducing a tow zone pilot on designated sections of provincial highways to address violence in the towing industry.
“These tow zones will be defined stretches of highway where a single tow truck company will be contracted by contracted by the province to remove vehicles that require a tow,” says Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “The tow zone pilot will have a two year timeframe and it can be extended but we will also be adding other zones along the way.”
Ontario is making roads and highways safer.
We’ve launched a joint forces operation team to address violence in the towing industry and introduced a tow zone pilot, which will better protect customers and improve towing industry safety.
Learn more ???? pic.twitter.com/QyzNkD4inz
— Caroline Mulroney (@C_Mulroney) March 2, 2021
Based on recommendations from the provincial towing task force established last year, the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police services will also form a Joint Forces Operation team to investigate criminal activity in the towing industry.
The government also says it will look at establishing an oversight model of the towing and storage industry, exploring licensing for tow truck drivers, and introducing clearer equipment standards.
“This operation will root out criminals and ensure that decisive actions can take place to address incidents of violence in the towing industry,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones in a statement.
NEW: Province plans to regulate tow truck industry with license requirements along with "tow zone" pilot program for specific companies to operate on specific highways in the short term pic.twitter.com/JdjPOMM3pc
— Mark McAllister (@McAllister_Mark) March 2, 2021
Last week a fourth OPP officer was charged< in a two-year-long probe into alleged crimes in the towing industry. The charges relate to alleged preferential treatment of tow-truck operators in the GTA. It was also last week where two tow trucks were torched overnight in Toronto’s east end.
There have been several incidents involving tow trucks in the city in recent months. Toronto Police were called to three incidents on Highway 401 over the course of two days in January, two of them involving gunfire.