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Hiring a tow truck in Ontario just got get safer. Here’s what you need to know

Jan 15, 2024 | By: Evan Stubbings, Manager, Fraud Policy, Policy Development, IBC
Hiring a tow truck in Ontario just got get safer. Here’s what you need to know

The New Year is bringing good news for Ontario drivers: After years of problems in the towing and storage industry – from unethical billings to violent criminal behaviour – the Ontario government is cracking down with towing and storage regulations that went into effect on January 1, 2024 This marks the end of municipal regulation of towing and storage operators, with the province now responsible for their certification and oversight.

These new regulations mean consumers across Ontario now have the same rights when requesting or receiving towing services.

As of January 1, all drivers have the right to:

  • Decide who tows their vehicle and where it is towed;

  • Receive and review the “Consent to Tow” form and “Maximum Rate Schedule” before towing begins – this form cannot be altered by the towing company, and IBC recommends you do not sign it if it’s blank;

  • Choose the payment method, including credit, debit and contactless payment through their phone, and receive an itemized invoice before paying and a receipt after;

  • Permit their auto insurance 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; and

  • Ask to see their tow operator’s name and certificate number.

All towing and storage operators in Ontario must now be certified by the province. You can view an operator’s certificate status and their maximum rates by visiting the government’s towing and storage website.

With the new regulations, the government has created a Code of Conduct that will help protect drivers.

The Code of Conduct, which also went into effect on January 1, requires towing and storage operators to exhibit professionalism, courtesy and fairness toward the public and each other; prioritize customer safety; and provide services in an honest and transparent manner, among other standards. If you believe a tow truck driver has violated any of the regulations or the Code of Conduct, you can make an anonymous report through the Ontario government’s complaints portal.

Do you know what to do if you are in a collision? Call your insurance company first. It is a trusted resource and can provide helpful advice on tow options, as well as car repair and rental companies.

About This Author

Evan Stubbings in the Manager of Fraud Policy within the Policy Development department at Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). In this role, Evan leads the development of IBC’s public policy positions to combat fraud and abuse in the insurance ecosystem. Evan works with members, governments, regulators, and stakeholders like Équité Association to advance solutions in areas ranging from auto theft, towing and storage and health service providers. Evan has a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from the London School of Economics.