Toronto

Ontario aims for tougher tow-truck rules

Ontario's Liberal government is aiming to crack down on unscrupulous tow-truck drivers and asking for the public's input about proposed new rules.

Government seeks public's input, says some industry practices boost insurance rates

The Ontario government says some towing industry practices are boosting auto insurance rates. (The Canadian Press)

Ontario's Liberal government is aiming to crack down on unscrupulous tow-truck drivers and asking for the public's input about proposed new rules.

The government says towing costs are partly to blame for high auto insurance rates.

The new rules would aim to stop tow truck drivers from taking disabled vehicles to their preferred garage, and getting an under-the-table kickback in return.

The government is also proposing to force towing companies to post their fees publicly and give customers a written quote before transporting any vehicle.

"One of the aspects around fraud in the auto industry is around services provided by towing," Consumer Services Minister David Orazietti, although he also said most towing companies are ethical.

But he said some companies make a little extra money by towing damaged cars to their storage lots, and not informing the owner for weeks.

"It adds to ultimately the cost that the insurance company needs to pay out, which has the effect of driving rates up for all Ontarians," said Orazietti.

The government has started asking for comments on the proposed new rules online. Orazietti said the government wants to "gather general feedback from Ontarians who may have had an experience with the towing industry."

You can take part in the survey here. Comments will be accepted until the end of October. The new rules could take affect as soon as next year. 

About the Author

Mike Crawley

Provincial Affairs Reporter

Mike Crawley is provincial affairs reporter in Ontario for CBC News. He has won awards for his reporting on the eHealth spending scandal and flaws in Ontario's welfare-payment computer system. Before joining the CBC in 2005, Mike filed stories from 19 countries in Africa as a freelance journalist and worked as a newspaper reporter in B.C.

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