Sections of Ontario auto insurance bill to take effect April 1

Toronto, Ontario — March 26, 2015 — Sections of Ontario’s new auto insurance act—Bill 15—are set to soon come into force. Effective April 1, inspectors will be given the power to enter premises without a search warrant and remove records for review to ensure compliance of the act, Canadian Underwriter reports. This amendment to the Consumer Protection Act is a result of the omnibus bill, the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act—passed on November 20, 2014 by the provincial government. To date, this is the only section of the bill scheduled to take effect April 1. In addition to addressing issues concerning auto insurance dispute resolution, the reduction of prejudgment interest rates for non-pecuniary losses for accident victims and changes to how insurance agents and adjusters are disciplined, the new legislation also includes measures affecting towing industry workers and storage providers. Bill 15 will mandate that itemized invoices are provided before towers are paid, that towers’ rates are published and known to customers, and that drivers accept credit cards as a payment option. The bill will also reduce the number of days, currently set at 60, a towed vehicle is stored without having given notice to owners. Additionally, the act will recast tow trucks as “commercial motor vehicles”—an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act requiring drivers to obtain a Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) certificate. Towers have taken issue with the outlined changes, gathering in protest at Queen’s Park and Brampton’s City Hall in December 2014. Among the concerns voiced are anticipated price hikes and workday restrictions. Under the new legislation, tow truck drivers will be limited to 13 hour days and a maximum of 60 hours per week. To read the bill in full, please go to ontla.on.ca.

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