Ontario has released a survey to gather feedback from the public on their experiences with the towing industry.
The survey will remain open for five weeks until January 15, 2021.
Input from the survey will be used to help inform the development of a provincial oversight model that will increase safety, outline protections for consumers, improve towing industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators.
In June 2020 the Ontario government assembled a task force to look at overhauling the province’s towing industry, in response to a deadly tow truck turf war that has plagued the Greater Toronto Area for close to two years.
A joint forces police operation led by York Regional Police was launched in February 2020 to crack down on the violence and organized crime within the towing industry and have made arrests yet the tow truck fires and turf wars are escalating again.
Towing By-law in Richmond Hill
Richmond Hill has regulated tow trucks since 2014 and updated the by-law in 2019.
Prior to enactment of the by-law in 2014, the Town was receiving a number of complaints about the industry over-charging for services, driving aggressively to get to accidents, and disrupting accident scenes.
It was incidents like the ones below that prompted the enactment of the towing by-law in Richmond Hill.
You may recall back in 2013 when then Ward 2 Councillor Carmine Perrelli, who objected to the proposed towing bylaw, got involved with enforcing parking at a plaza on Yonge Street. According to the Richmond Hill Liberal articles linked below, residents were upset over towing fees (between $600 and $800) and terms (immediate payment in cash or threat they’d have their cars removed).
Tow operators at the plaza would accompany drivers to nearby cash machines, and Perrelli was on the scene most days, telling drivers that what the tow company, Martin’s Towing and Storage (a contributor to Perrelli's 2010 election campaign), was doing was “perfectly legal” and encouraging drivers to pay the exorbitant fines.
Below are two articles written by The Liberal's Kim Zarzour that tell the whole story.