News & Views
There is a lot to report on for the 2022 season and I will do my best to provide all that is happening in the towing industry.
Ontario: The MTO is continuing to have stakeholder meetings with towing industry and others to establish consumer protections, training and certification for drivers and other industry protections. As previously reported, the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act will be critical in eliminating chasing and elevate the industry to a much more acceptable and respected service.
In consideration of training the CTA met via zoom with the MTO to discuss a Training Standard for new hires. We shared information and provided the MTO with the CTA/DriveWise Training Standard for entry level drivers. We are doing everything we can to initiate an simple effective entry level training program on the internet that will provide the required training at low cost and easily accessible over the internet.
It is expected that the registration, certification (licensing process) will begin by early summer in Ontario.
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia: Members of the towing industry within these provinces continue to be financially abused by these government sanctioned insurance providers. Recently MPI restructured their contracts for the towing industry and if you refuse to sign the contract they either won’t pay for the call or they will pay you under the old contract both of which is sub-cost to say the least. Watch our website for more details on what your actual cost to provide services is. You will be surprised!
The following is a letter on the Electronic Logging Devices and Hours of Service as it applies to the towing industry.
General Information: Ontario’s Electronic Logging Device Mandate
As a general guide for provincial Electronic Logging Device (ELD) requirements in Ontario, ELDs will be required for drivers of commercial motor vehicles who are required to use logbooks under Hours of Service (HoS) requirements in Ontario today. There is no change to current drivers that are required to follow HoS requirements; no change to the current drivers that are required to carry and maintain a logbook, and no change to the current HoS limits.
Tow Trucks: Used for Purposes of Towing
Tow trucks (used for the purpose of towing) are currently exempt from Hours of Service regulation and therefore, will not require an ELD.
As outlined in Ontario Regulation 419/15, a tow truck means:
- A motor vehicle commonly known as a tow truck;
- A commercial motor vehicle with a flatbed that can tilt to load and that is used exclusively to tow or transport other motor vehicles; and
- A motor vehicle that is designed, modified, configured or equipped so that it is capable of towing other motor vehicles.
Tow Trucks: Moving General Freight
A driver of a tow truck that is not used for the purpose of towing and is moving general freight is subject to Hours of Service requirements (and may be required to use an ELD – subject to application and exemption criteria).
The following commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are exempt from using ELDs:
- A CMV driven by a driver within 160 km radius of where they began their day and that returns to the same location at which the driver began*.
- A school bus.
- A bus is temporarily exempt until July 1, 2023, after which time a certified ELD is required.
- A CMV operated by an operator under a certificate issued under section 191 of the Act.
- A CMV that is the subject of a rental agreement of no longer than 30 days that is not an extended or renewed rental of the same vehicle.
- A CMV manufactured before model year 2000.
- A CMV being driven for the purpose of sale or lease by a person in the business of selling, leasing or transporting vehicles, so long as the vehicle is unladed and is not drawing any other vehicle, other than an unladen motor vehicle with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway (such as drive-away/tow-away operations).
*Please note that Ontario’s ELD mandate does not provide an exemption for drivers who rarely or infrequently operate outside of the 160 km radius and when operating outside of the 160km an ELD will be required.
Where required ELDs must be included on the list of devices which are certified by Transport Canada. Transport Canada is responsible for publishing a list of certified ELDs and providing information on the certification process, as well as accrediting third-party certification bodies. Approved devices can be found on Transport Canada’s website as they become certified: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/electronic-logging-devices.html.
To provide flexibility to operators, an education and awareness period has been implemented until January 1, 2023 without penalties.
For additional information concerning Ontario’s ELD mandate (including application and exemption criteria) please refer to the Electronic Logging Devices Webpage: https://www.ontario.ca/page/electronic-logging-devices-commercial-motor-vehicles
The attached Information Pamphlets (EN/FR) contain helpful information and resources regarding Ontario’s ELD mandate and may be distributed.
Questions related to the implementation of Ontario’s ELD mandate may be directed to Commercial Safety and Compliance Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation at email@example.com.
It’s been a while since our last communique and there has been a lot happening in the towing industry.
As Covid seems to be sticking around it has become apparent that sales volumes are way down and many tow companies have been forced to make many staff and operational changes. No doubt this situation will be here for a while yet and continuing covid business adjustments will continue for some time. Please stay safe and get vaccinated. As everyone is finding everywhere there are many people that have decided that they do not want to get the vaccine for COVID-19. The Ontario government has a website where you can see if your business is eligible and they will send you a supply of rapid test kits so that you can test employees to ensure the safety of all your staff and customers. The website for more information is https://covid-19.ontario.ca/get-free-rapid-tests. The federal government also has a website where you can request rapid tests for your business. The website for that is https://health.canada.ca/en/rapid-tests.
Now for the big news in Ontario Bill 282 has passed which included the TOWING AND STORAGE SAFETY AND ENFORCEMENT ACT, 202. We have placed a copy of this act on our website for your reading pleasure. There is no doubt this act is the start of consumer protection and the protection of the honest family towing businesses in Ontario. It is our hope this act will be replicated in the provinces where chasing rules the highways. The act calls for fines of up to $100,000 for serious infractions and loss of the towing license (Certificate).
No doubt this sounds alarming but the fact of the matter is most professional and family towing businesses have nothing to worry about as most if not all work with honesty and integrity and which only helps them in their day to day operations.
Another initiative the government took on is to establish exclusive tow zones within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). This is being done on a test basis and the tendering for the zones is now closed and all tenders are going through the evaluation process. For obvious reasons the evaluation process is time consuming and while the original start target was September 2021 we expect it will take longer.
On another note, we are seeing a number of issues being raised about the insurance companies abusing the industry through non-payment for services provided. It seems Desjardins Insurance has taken the position that all tow companies charge too much and are placing the funds in court causing serious cash flow issues for many tow companies. There are some tow companies that are now making insurance appraisers sign a form stating they will be paying the invoice before being allowed to inspect the vehicle and if they refuse to sign they are not allowed in to the impound yard. Other towing companies are outright refusing the insurance companies entrance into the impound yard unless full payment is made. If you are suffering through this form of abuse from any insurance company we invite you to send a copy of the subject invoice and the subject of dispute to the email above.
Training: We have been working on an inexpensive internet based training program for new light-duty towing drivers.
This training option is available to all tow companies with a generous discount for members of CTA. A link to the training will be provided on the CTA, ORG and DriveWise websites. Once you click on the link you need only follow the instructions. To enroll a driver in this program you will require a supervisor with at least five years’ experience in light-duty towing and formal training by a recognised training provider. It will be the duty of the supervisor to monitor the progress of the student to ensure all aspects of the training is delivered and understood. A certificate and wallet card will be issued to each successful student.
There is no doubt this will be a helpful initiative to many in reducing the overall costs of training for drivers.
Finally, as we go down this road of regulations, insurance issues, employee costs, the high cost of equipment and ever-increasing fuel costs it should become obvious that the industry needs a consistent body to keep everyone up to date on the challenges faced by the industry. CTA is up to the task but we need to hear your voices on any concerns you may have. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add your concerns our files. If we get enough concerns on a particular subject, you will be placing us in a better position act on the industry’s behalf.
Earlier this month our eastern director Mike Burstall and Rejean Breton President of the ADPQ attended a meeting organized by Andrew Akers in New Brunswick. The meeting held in the Dineen auditorium at the University of New Brunswick. The meeting was held to draw attention to a recent spate of deaths of tow truck drivers and to lobby the government for move-over laws for tow trucks. Andrew Akers co-owner of Capital Towing says he hopes the new Progressive Conservative Government will pass legislation to include the towing industry in the move-over laws. The question then becomes WHY is it taking so long for all of the provinces and territories to adopt a law that saves lives? In Ontario we lost another driver needlessly struck on the side of the road about a month ago. As it is our responsibility to ensure we are safe we must ask, why the police are not doing more in enforcing the Slow Down, Move Over law? Why do we have to lose even one driver, one policeman or one fireman so needlessly?
Fire bombings and shootings at a law office, close to twenty tow trucks burned, two tow truck operators shot and killed and multiple beatings and knifings on the roadsides of Ontario’s highways. Even Montreal tow truck companies have been subject to the same treatment. Sound fictitious maybe, but it’s not! Accident chasing and turf wars reign supreme. This is truly emblematic of what’s happening in Ontario and is coming to an area near you!
In Ontario it appears the government is starting to pay attention to our voices that something must be done with Highway Traffic Incident Management and reigning in those that choose to abuse. An ongoing consultation with the many stakeholders is happening and hopefully it will eventually bare some fruit. We will keep our members posted on this issue.
London Ontario has also been the subject of chasing over the last few years and currently the City of London is preparing to enact an Anti-Chasing Bylaw that will allow for huge fines if caught soliciting a tow or parking a tow truck within 200 meters without permission. We will provide more on this once the bylaw is passed.
Central and Western Canada
The Edmonton Tow Show took place at Black Jacks Roadhouse in Nisku Alberta on August 24th. Over eighty tow trucks and half a dozen antique tow trucks showed up all polished and gleaming. The trucks included light, medium and heavy duty tow trucks plus a large variety of traffic management vehicles. The show and shine was difficult to judge due to the number of fabulous trucks on display.
Doug Nelson Executive Director of the Canadian Towing Association attended from Ontario and presented a computer program developed to calculate the true cost of vehicle storage. A well attended roundup dinner followed with a fabulous dinner of Alberta Beef. Sunday morning was set aside for a board meeting to discuss the success of the show and other future initiatives.
All in all the show was very well attended and everyone had a great time. Kudo’s to the Alberta Towing Association for hosting such a great event!
The winners of the Show and Shine are as follows:
Antique – Tofield Towing 1954 GMC
Light duty – Cliff’s Towing 2018 Ram 5500
Medium Duty – Trio Towing 2017 Freightliner
Carrier – Tofield Towing 2001 Volvo
Heavy Duty – Cliff’s Towing 2006 Peterbilt
The migration of these horrific chasing incidents affecting the towing industry has begun. It has left Ontario and made its way west traveling up the Trans-Canada Highway into North Western Ontario, crossing into Manitoba and proceeded on the Trans-Canada Highway into eastern and central Saskatchewan through to Alberta.
Heavy towing is the costliest of all towing services but make no mistake about it light-duty can be just as expensive due to abusive tactics. Towers chasing these heavy recoveries submit invoices for astronomical amounts far and above the norm and will do whatever is necessary to convince law enforcement or the drivers of the vehicles that they were called or that the police ordered them to perform the recovery. In many cases they commit fraud by falsely stating the vehicle owner requested them. Unfortunately, this dishonest practice pulls the honest operators into the “Guilty by Association” syndrome and affects everyone.
By participating in a National Association we could address this as a nationwide problem.
In Canada we have tens of thousands of not-for-profit associations that employ full time directors to lead the push for sensible regulations. The absence of such for the towing industry has been holding us back for decades. It is time to organize and get our proverbial act together. We need your voice and we need your opinion.
Join our ranks today and be part of the movement. Just watch what we can do to elevate the voices of the tow professional. It is as easy as going to our website at www.ctagroup.ca. Print the application, complete it and email to email@example.com or fax to 705-645-0017.
If you have questions or concerns about joining feel free to contact your local board of director or the Executive Director for more information. Contact information is also on the website.
We look forward to hearing your voice!
Best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season.
Mike Burstall, Joey Gagne, Nick Roscoe, Guy Huta
Doug Nelson, Executive Director