“If you have a Class G driver’s licence, you could go to a tow truck company tomorrow, get some on the job training, and basically have a truck to drive and you could be towing a vehicle ...There really should be some provincial certification requirement to operate a tow truck in Ontario and that would come along with licensing and training requirements.”
Teresa Di Felice, CAA SCO’s assistant vice president of government and community relations
CAA South Central Ontario says tow truck drivers should require certification above and beyond a Class G driver’s licence. Many occupations in Ontario do require licensing and certification. Among them are plumbers, electricians, automotive service technicians, insurance brokers, nurses and teachers. Toronto tow truck operators are not on this list.
The Ministry of Transportation reports that a G-licensed driver may drive any vehicle, or combination of vehicle and towed vehicle up to 11,000 kgs, if the towed vehicle is not over 4,600 kgs. This weight includes most typical passenger cars. Meanwhile, most Ontario Toronto tow truck drivers and a G license and on-the-job training.
Towing often comes up when the auto insurance industry discusses claims costs.
“Cars have become more expensive. It becomes important to understand how not to damage a car any further than it already is when you are picking it up,” from a collision scene, said Di Felice.
In 2015, he omnibus Bill 15 (which neither reduced auto insurance rates nor enacted any new fraud laws) also changed the Consumer Protection Act so that tow truck and storage providers must now publish their rates, provide itemized invoices before taking payment, and accept credit cards.
Bill 39, tabled in October 2018, proposes to setup the Accessible Parking and Towing Industry Review Committee. That committee would look at the issue of provincial towing licencing, says CAA SCO, which is encouraging all members of provincial parliament to vote in favour of Bill 39. CAA SCO is part of CAA Club Group, which also operates CAA Insurance.
Important to keep in mind, each Ontario municipality has its own rules on tow truck licensing, Gila Martow, Progressive Conservative MPP for Thornhill, told the legislature when she tabled Bill 39, which was referred to committee Oct. 25.
“We have 16 municipalities in Ontario that have some form of tow truck bylaw or licensing, mostly in the greater Toronto tow truck area,” Di Felice said in an interview. “In some of these municipalities, if a collision occurs, the tow operator needs to be licensed in order to hook that vehicle up and tow it.”
Di Felice added that CAA roadside assistance is calling for a “provincial outlook on licensing." While wanting to address the issue of proper licensing and training for all tow truck operators, CAA does not want local tow truck drivers to have to pay thousands of dollars in multiple muncipal licensing fees. This could easily delay and clog up tow truck service times as well as burden businesses. Instead, she is hopeful that the province will streamline this issue through cooperation and an interest in efficiency, clarity and safety.
"This is another strong example of why drivers need to be more aware of emergency vehicles on the highway. This video, it just supports the campaign that the OPP and the agencies are doing over the weekend, trying to get the message out to people to slow down and move over,"