Last week, alongside Premier Ford and Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, I was pleased to announce that our government is establishing a task force to improve provincial oversight of the towing industry. Most tow truck operators in Ontario are responsible and play a critical role in keeping our roadways safe, which is why we are committed to ensuring a higher standard for the tow truck industry and are looking at ways to provide greater oversight of the industry to keep our roads and highways among the safest in North America.
However, recent reported incidents of violence in the towing industry, targeting both owners and operators, as well as the public, has been cause for significant concern. When Ontarians find themselves stranded on the side of the road, they need to know their calls will be answered by towing service providers who act safely, ethically and within the law.
That’s why the task force’s review will help us determine tougher standards for the industry as part of our government’s commitment to build safer communities. Additionally, the task force will review a number of topics related to the towing industry, including potential provincial oversight of safety, consumer protection, improved industry standards, training and background checks. This will help inform continued ongoing work in developing a regulatory model, increasing safety and enforcement, clarifying protections for consumers, improving industry standards and consider tougher penalties for violators.
The task force will work collaboratively with our policing partners including the Ontario Provincial Police, and representatives from across the spectrum of government, including the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of the Solicitor General, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Ministry of Finance. Once the task force has developed proposals for discussion and comment, it will be consulting with industry, municipalities, and public safety experts.
As part of our end-to-end review, we are also considering opportunities for: increased consumer protection against the first-to-scene unethical business practices, insurance savings through a crackdown on insurance fraud rings, improved consumer choice for payments and repairs, and ways to improve our transportation system by clearing accidents more quickly in order to minimize lane reductions and reduce congestion on our highways.
For more information on how we are working to address issues in the towing industry to maintain public safety, bring criminals and bad actors within the industry to justice, and promote consumer confidence, visit my website at sylviajonesmpp.ca or call my office at 1-800-265-1603.