The Ontario government is moving toward enacting various reforms for the province’s tow truck industry, including the licensing of drivers, and is seeking to crack down on violence within it.
Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones unveiled a suite of measures at Queen’s Park on Tuesday.
Officials said they are moving to create an oversight model and a licensing regime, but the finite details still need to be unveiled.
It was also announced that a joint forces operation team led by the Ontario Provincial Police in partnership with local police services will focus on criminal investigations.
A new restricted tow truck zone pilot project on multiple 400-series highways was also announced. It will see only one approved tow truck operator for each of the following highway sections: Highway 400 between Highways 400 and 9, Highway 401 between Morningside Avenue in Scarborough and Rural Road 25 in Milton, Highway 409 between Highways 401 and 427, Highway 427 between the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 409 and the Queen Elizabeth Way between Brant Street in Burlington and Highway 427 in Toronto.
The announcement came several months after provincial officials announced the creation of a task force to look into the industry.
“There’s a small group of bad apples out there causing trouble, lighting trucks on fire, smashing windows and getting mixed up in organized crime. That ends now,” Ford said in June, referring to the incidents of reported criminal activity and violence.
“We will hold them accountable. We will increase enforcement, strengthen consumer protection and improve industry standards.”
In May, York Regional Police revealed the results of Project Platinum, which saw police forces across the Greater Toronto Area and the Canada Revenue Agency identify several organized crime groups working within the towing industry who used violence and property damage to gain control and territory within the industry.
According to the government, there are about 1,600 tow truck companies registered in the Ministry of Transportation’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) program. The government said a valid CVOR certificate is required to operate a tow truck.
— With files from Gabby Rodrigues
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