New tow truck rules will cost Brampton taxpayers more than $200,000 per year in lost fees: report

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Published November 23, 2023 at 12:39 pm

brampton tow trucks

City council is pushing back against upcoming changes to Ontario’s tow truck industry that could see Brampton taxpayers left holding the bag for a more than $200,000 annual loss in licensing fees.

Ontario’s Towing and Storage Safety Enforcement Act (TSSEA) will come into effect on Jan. 1 with a new provincial program for the towing and vehicle storage industry, taking control of oversight and licensing from individual municipalities.

But the change will see the City of Brampton lose out on some $201,265 in tow truck licensing fees every year on top of funds collected from penalties, according to a report, a loss which could fall to Brampton taxpayers to cover.

“We can’t make them pay if we don’t hold the licences anymore,” Coun. Michael Palleschi said in council chambers on Wednesday of the changes, which he called an “over $200,000 dollar hit to the taxpayer.”

“We’ve had over 1,000 complaints in the last three years related to tow trucks…I don’t know why the provincial government is doing this, but something has to be done about this.”

The changes will also tie the city’s hands when it comes to tow truck operator enforcement, which will fall to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) in the new year.

In light of the lost revenue and what Palleschi called “a huge loss of control” over the industry, Mayor Patrick Brown said he will be writing a letter to Brampton MPPs calling on the province to address the city’s concerns.

Palleschi also asked city staff to explore the possibility of Brampton working around the new provincial rules through a “privatized licensing agreement” with operators.

As of Jan. 1, all tow truck and vehicle storage operators will need a provincial certificate to operate under the TSSEA, with the province saying it will be suspending fees until July 1 for all certificate types to encourage industry registration.

Licensing 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.

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

Tow truck drivers in Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon have previously 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.

Earlier this month police took nearly two dozen tow trucks out of service during a crackdown on operators in Mississauga and across the GTA. Police found dozens of violations and of the 30 trucks inspected a total of 21 were taken out of service.

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.

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