May 1, 2017 / Lisa M. Carr / Carr Law Professional Corporation
The City of Toronto Municipal Licensing and Standards (ML&S) Division is reviewing the current municipal bylaw regulating tow services in the City of Toronto.
Section 151 and 155 of the Municipal Act, grants authority to the City of Toronto to regulate owners and drivers of tow trucks, including the rates charged and the collection of rates. This includes all tow services within the municipality or from any point in the municipality to any point outside the municipality.
The current regulation of Owners and Drivers of Tow Trucks can be found in the Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 545, Licensing, Article VI. The City of Toronto states this licensing bylaw has been enacted for consumer protection of motorists and accident victims in addition to supporting members of the tow truck industry.
Currently the fees for accident tows are capped at $166 from city streets and $188 from highways. The following regulations are being considered for tows from accidents:
- $230 cap for all tows from an accident scene in the City of Toronto. This includes towing from a temporary storage facility when the collision reporting centre is closed.
- $100 capped rate for on-road/off road recovery. Recovery services not yet defined.
- $230 cap for towing from a collision reporting centre – rate agreed upon with consumer.
- These rates would be all inclusive and no additional fees may be charged.
- Plus a new requirement that a functioning camera be added as mandatory tow truck equipment and require the use of a camera for photographic evidence to justify the performance of recovery services. Records of the photos to be kept for a period of 1 year, should it be required for ML&S inspection or court litigation
Currently, fees for towing form private property, such as illegally parked vehicles, is capped at $88 per tow. The following regulations are being considered for tows from private property:
- $108 cap for all tows from private property.
Currently there is little regulation of medium/heavy tows. The fees above apply to tow services for vehicles less than 6000 pounds. There are no regulations for towing vehicles exceeding 6000 pounds, other than requiring tow companies to file their rates with the City of Toronto. The following regulations are being considered for medium/heavy tows.
- Continue requirement to file Schedule of Rates, but the list must include exact rates to be charged (no ranges) and be filed for every annual license renewal, even if rates remain unchanged.
Currently there is no regulation of storage rates, except for storage of vehicles towed from private property capped at $20/day. The following new regulations are being considered for storage of vehicles.
- $25/day cap for storage from private property tows (increase from $20/day)
- $60/day new rate for temporary overnight storage if vehicle towed from an accident occurring outside of CRC hours.
Other regulations being considered include:
- Allowing for an automatic annual inflation adjustment on all regulated towing and storage rates.
- Creating a new obligation to obtain a “Consent to Tow “ form by incorporating the current ‘bill of services’ into a form that tow operators must present and have customers sign as proof of authorization before towing any vehicle. A completed form must be provided to the customer and include the date/time the tow truck arrived on scene, the location of the tow, the name, badge number, and detachment of any officer leading the accident investigation (if applicable), the name of the towing company, the towing operator’s ML&S tow truck driver licence # and ML&S tow truck # plate, the name and contact information of the customer, vehicle information (make, model, year, VIN #, licence plate), final bill listing charges (and any estimated charges) associated with that tow, the final destination for the towed vehicle as directed by a police officer or agreed to by the customer, the signature of the customer (or officer in charge of the accident investigation) giving consent to perform the listed towing services, the signature of the tow operator;
- Requiring tow operators to display a larger version of their ML&S Tow Truck Driver ID Card in their tow truck, in plain sight, containing their photo, licence number and their towing company name and contact information
- Introducing a ‘bill of rights’ which clearly outlines the role, rights and responsibilities of tow truck drivers, collision reporting centres (CRCs), and consumers; require this ‘bill of rights’ to be presented to consumers prior to completing an Itemized Bill of Charges/'Consent to Tow Form' / by CRCs at CRC premises
- Requiring tow operators partnering with insurance companies, car dealerships, auto clubs, etc. to file with ML&S and carry a copy of such agreements in their tow truck
For more information on the City of Toronto’s tow truck bylaw review, please click here.