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-freerapid- 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 ORG. A link to the training will be provided on the ORG, CTA 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. ORG 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.