Aviva Canada’s recent report revealing the frequency and depth of auto insurance fraud in Ontario, reinforced the stance taken by CAA South Central Ontario on continued advocacy efforts to regulate the provincial towing industry.
In 2017, Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act established certain measures to safeguard motorists. Tow operators are prevented from charging excessive amounts for service, and drivers have the option to choose where to have their vehicle towed to.
Other measures include:
- Giving motorists the option to pay with a credit card
- Providing an itemized invoice listing the services provided and costs involved before receiving any payment
- Disclose if they are receiving a financial incentive for towing a vehicle to a particular storage facility or repair shop
- CAA says it has been actively working with stakeholders and government officials to work towards provincial regulation of the towing industry. Regulating the industry is seen as providing added protection for consumers as well as consistent levels of training for operators, preserving the vitality of an important industry on Ontario’s roads.
“The need for provincial regulation of the tow truck industry is underscored by the continuing challenges related to consumer protection and choice on Ontario’s roads,” said Elliott Silverstein, Manager, Government Relations at CAA South Central Ontario. Although collisions represent a small portion of towing services conducted in Ontario, these incidents are considerably more expensive, are susceptible to fraudulent behaviours and activities, and occur when motorists are most vulnerable.
“Fraud in the auto insurance industry is multi-faceted, and provincial towing regulation is one of many potential solutions,” said Silverstein. “The findings in Aviva’s latest report reinforces CAA’s efforts to encourage the provincial government to help resolve challenges in this sector, and keep motorists safe across Ontario if and when they require assistance.”
In August 2017, CAA engaged Ipsos to survey Ontario motorists about their knowledge of their rights and the rules and regulations for the towing industry.
The research indicated that only 51 per cent of motorists said they felt educated about their rights, and do not feel protected. The survey also showed that 53 per cent of respondents were not aware that costs and requirements for towing differ across Ontario.