Ontario's towing industry will be reformed and newly regulated after two major police probes uncovered corruption and criminal activity. Doug Ford's administration recently launched a task force to make the necessary changes, according to CP24.
While Premier Ford acknowledged that most tow truck drivers were honest people who "work their backs off" to provide for their loved ones, he did say that there are a "small group" that was tarnishing the reputation of the rest.
“There’s no place for that kind of activity, to all the bad actors out there, my message is very clear, the party’s over, we’re coming for you, we’ll catch you and we’ll lock you up,” said Ford.
The police probes led to uncovering criminal activity that involved one Toronto police officer and included years of arsons, shootings and at least one murder connected to the corrupt industry. The police officer linked to the corruption allegedly provided tow truck drivers with encrypted police radios.
“Tow trucks are an essential piece of the moving economy, of our economy here in Ontario. This task force will ensure that the industry has stronger oversight so that crime does not pay,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.
The task force Ford is launching will include the OPP as well as representatives from all across the provincial government, according to Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney. “Our immediate focus will be making sure tow truck system is clear of criminality,” said Mulroney.
The bulk of the tow truck industry regulations had been previously left up to the individual municipalities however that will change moving forward. The "first on scene" policy will also be ended as it encourages tow truck drivers to race to the scene of an accident or breakdown in the hopes of beating out their competition. Mulroney said that kind of system promotes reckless driving.
In addition to reckless driving, there have been groups of tow truck drivers who were involved in multiple arsons of vehicles as well as the 2018 murder of a driver in Richmond Hill in front of his home.