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OPP unveils plans to crack down on 'criminality' in tow industry

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NEWS RELEASE
ONTARIO PROVINCIAL POLICE
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The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is launching a Tow Program as part of its commitment to enhance public safety and help mitigate the increase in criminality in Ontario's towing industry.

The new OPP Tow Program includes significant changes to the way the OPP requests services from and interacts with tow and storage service operators (TSSO).

It also introduces a list of requirements TSSOs must meet before they can provide tow and storage services for police-requested legislated tows.

These are tows for which police have legislated authority (e.g. vehicle impoundment for impaired driving, stunt driving, or evidence). The program also applies to tows requested by OPP officers on behalf of members of the public who need a tow.

Among the new requirements, TSSOs must submit an annual application to provide tow and storage services to the OPP for the calendar year. Applicants will need to provide information relating to ownership, registration, licence, vehicle, equipment, insurance and other details in the application. A signed release that authorizes the OPP to conduct a criminal history background check will also be required.

The application package, new list of mandatory TSSO equipment, guidelines for providing towing services to the OPP and other information are available at www.opp.ca.

Applications must be returned to the local OPP detachment by Nov. 1, 2021. The OPP will assess the applications and provide notice to the TSSOs and towing associations where applicable.

Successful applicants will remain on the OPP Tow List for one year and are subject to suspension and removal from the list in certain circumstances.

The Ministry of Transportation will be implementing a Tow Zone Pilot on defined sections of 400 series highways within the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area to help support the development of standards, practices and regulations for the towing and storage sector.

Towing procedures within these designated zones will be exempt from the OPP Tow Program and will be managed according to the Tow Zone Pilot. If you have any questions related to the Tow Zone Pilot, please direct them to the Ministry of Transportation.

The OPP encourages all tow companies, operators and drivers to educate themselves about the rules and regulations that guide Ontario's towing cycle.

Helpful Links

Consumer Protection Act (CPA) (2002): https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/02c30
Repair and Storage Liens Act (RSLA): https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90r25
Highway Traffic Act (HTA): https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/90h08

The OPP is committed to enhancing public and officer safety, building public trust and delivering bias-free OPP services to members of the public.

The OPP Tow Program supports the Ontario Government-led multi-agency Towing Task Force's broader strategy to address criminal activity and violence in the towing industry.

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