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Tow trucks descend on Queen's Park in protest of auto insurance reforms

Tow truck drivers are lined up on University Avenue en route to Queen's Park this morning to demonstrate against the province's recent changes to auto insurance laws.

Bill passed Nov. 20 means more provincial oversight of towing industry

A tow truck parks in front of Queen's Park to protest recent auto insurance legislation. (Michael Cole/CBC)

Tow truck drivers lined up on University Avenue en route to Queen's Park this morning to demonstrate against the province's recent changes to auto insurance laws. 

About 1,500 tow truck operators were expected to participate in the protest — driving downtown from three locations: Bovaird Drive and Highway 410 in Brampton, Mavis Road and Highway 401 in Mississauga and Steeles Avenue and Highway 404.

The TTC warned riders that delays were expected on the 506 Carlton route due to the protest. The congestion effects were felt along the 94 Wellesley route, as well, with the bus diverting both ways via Yonge Street, College Street, St. George Avenue. The protest blocked the roadway at Queen's Park Crescent, according to the TTC.

University Avenue is lined with tow trucks on Tuesday morning. Police say the trucks are moving with traffic and not obstructing it, but delays due to volume should be expected. (CBC)
Peel police were forced to divert traffic around a similar protest yesterday, and today's demonstration could lead to significant traffic delays for drivers trying to get downtown.

On Nov. 20, Ontario passed Bill 15, a law aimed at fighting insurance fraud and reducing premiums for drivers. But the legislation also reaches the towing industry, requiring tow truck operators to have permission before charging for services; post prices and other cost information; accept credit card payments from customers and provide an itemized invoice for services provided.

The new legislation also puts tow trucks under the commercial vehicle operator's registration system, an industry oversight measure from which they were previously exempt. As a result, drivers can no longer work more than 13 hours per day or more than 60 hours per week. 

Tow truck operators argue the law will limit their ability to earn a living, particularly in winter, and eventually end up costing customers more money. 

Provincial oversight of the towing industry was a key recommendation of the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force, which released its final report in November 2012. 

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