Toronto tow trucks getting fixed rate, but industry says it's too low

Tow truck drivers say they don’t like the new rules council is considering for their industry, and will be at city hall demanding a higher baseline towing price.

City hoping changes will protect customers

Toronto tow truck operators say the price the city's setting is far too low. (The Canadian Press)

Tow truck drivers say they don't like the new rules council is considering for their industry, and will be at city hall demanding a higher baseline towing price.

An industry group warns if the city doesn't make changes on the council floor, it could result in tow truck operators leaving Toronto, which could be a headache for drivers.

City staff are recommending a fixed towing rate of $250, with the possibility of an additional $100 should the vehicle need to be winched into position before towing. The towing itself would be free, however operators could start charging per kilometre travelled once outside city limits.

Both the tow truck operator and the driver will also have to agree to a price before the tow begins.

"It cuts down on the arguments, it cuts down on the need for enforcement and I think it's a better place for everyone," said Coun. Jon Burnside, who sits on the licensing and standards committee, which approved the changes last month.

"I think $250 for a tow in the city of Toronto is a fair rate."

Towing industry says city upwards of $100 short

Aris Marinos, who represents independent towers, disagrees.

He wants Toronto to align its rate with Halton's, at $360 for the hook up and then $4 per kilometre. Further, he wants tow truck operators to be able to charge $125 per hour they spend waiting at a collision reporting centre.

Marinos says things like righting overturned vehicles or winching those that have gone off the road should also net towers more money ($350 and $100, respectively).

He also warns the city to reconsider a plan to implement a minimum weight for towing vehicles, pointing out that could take smaller trucks off the road. "Not only do congested streets often require smaller trucks but they are needed for removal from many if not most underground garages," Marinos said in a news release.

The city hasn't changed its towing rates in 11 years.

Over the last five years, the city has dealt with an average of 150 complaints per year about tow truck drivers, although charges have been filed in fewer than 500 of those cases.

About the Author

John Rieti

John Rieti covers city hall and city issues for CBC Toronto. Born and raised in Newfoundland, John has worked in CBC newsrooms across the country in search of great stories. Outside of work, catch him running or cycling around, often armed with a camera, always in search of excellent coffee.

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