Towing and storage panel to hold final Bill 15 meeting

By CTAR StaffToronto, Ontario — April 14, 2015 — The towing and storage panel will be holding its fourth and final meeting to further discuss the Ontario government’s Bill 15. Scheduled for April 14, running from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., the last instalment will focus on summarizing the previous three meetings that have been held throughout early 2015, while encouraging discussions about the next steps of the consultation process for industry stakeholders as it relates to Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014. At the third meeting on March 25 — facilitated by Deloitte — stakeholders discussed tow and vehicle storage processes, the reduction of the notice period and how it will impact towing businesses, in addition to getting fair value for towing and storage services. The panel also talked about incident management, which members believe to be a key issue for the towing industry and foundational to addressing the broader issues within the business. According to the panel’s report, stakeholders voiced a willingness to discuss how to lessen overcrowding at collision scenes and how to coordinate efficient responses from police and tow truck operators. The panel said they were concerned about using the “first on the scene” model, and suggested looking at a US model that incorporates towing recovery, law enforcement, fire, rescue and emergency medical services while coordinating a multi-party operation to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents to restore the flow of traffic on roadways. Panel members also expressed views on a standardized provincial model, compared to a parallel municipal and provincial system, believing a streamlined framework was fundamental to developing an effective and efficient set of regulations that will aid the Ontario government in its hope to reduce automobile insurance rates for consumers. Past meetings, held February 19 and March 3, focused on the definition of a tow truck, hours of service, inspections, weight compliance, tow truck driver training, visual identifiers for tow trucks and tow storage operators, type and amount of insurance coverage required, record keeping and reporting for consumer protection, authorization for tow and storage services, access to property inside a vehicle, and disclosure of a tow or storage operator’s financial interest in a related facility. The project team met with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) on April 9, and held a separate meeting on the same date with a group of tow operators to gather additional feedback and perspectives of the in-scope topics. The towing and vehicle storage panel is a group established by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) to develop a public consultations and recommendations report for government on potential regulations to support the implementation of MGCS and MTO led amendments in respect of towing and vehicle storage services in Ontario as set out in Bill 15, which was passed by the province on November 20, 2014. To view Bill 15 online, as well as its status and minutes, please visit ontla.on.ca. Those with questions on concerns regarding the bill and how it may affect the industry are encouraged to contact Collision Industry Information Assistance (CIIA) at 1-866-309-4272, or by email at info@ciia.com.

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