Changes to Ontario tow truck rules leaves Brampton with less oversight and fewer enforcement options

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Published January 5, 2024 at 2:43 pm

The city is officially out of the tow truck business as the province has rolled out new regulations that could leave Brampton short $200,000 every year, a tab which could end up falling on taxpayers to cover.

Ontario’s Towing and Storage Safety Enforcement Act (TSSEA) came into effect on Jan. 1, ushering in a new provincial program for the towing and vehicle storage industry.

The new rules take oversight and licensing away from individual municipalities like Brampton.

But a report from the city in November showed the changes will see Brampton out on some $201,265 in tow truck licensing fees every year.

The changes also tie the city’s hands when it comes to tow truck enforcement, which now falls under the provincial Ministry of Transportation (MTO). Brampton will no longer collect revenue from tow truck penalties and all tow drivers operating in the city must have a TSSEA certificate by July 1.

Mayor Patrick Brown said he plans to write a letter to Brampton MPPs calling on the province to address the city’s concerns around lost revenue and lack of oversight. Coun. Michael Palleschi has also asked city staff to explore the possibility of Brampton working around the new provincial rules through a “privatized licensing agreement” with operators.

Licensing under the new provincial program will cost $575 per year for a tow operator certificate, ​$195 every three years for a tow truck driver certificate, and $575 per year for a vehicle storage operator certificate.

Tow truck drivers in the Region of Peel have had run-ins with police, including a tow truck driver busted going nearly double the speed limit in a 70 km/h zone, a Mississauga tow truck driver charged with drug offences, and a Brampton tow truck driver caught on video driving into oncoming traffic.

If you need a tow truck while driving on the 401 you can call 511 for a tow truck through the province’s Tow Zone pilot project, or dial *OPP for service elsewhere in Ontario.

The province established a towing task force in 2020 to increase safety and enforcement while improving industry standards in response to “concerns about violence and criminal activity in the industry.”

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