New Towing regulations for 2023 outlined
Several Towing industry exemptions under the CVOR program are being removed as of January 1, 2023. Photo: Google images
Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation recently informed industry members of regulatory changes which will affect the Towing sector in 2023.
“In June 2021, the Ontario government passed the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act (TSSEA) to provide provincial oversight of the towing and vehicle storage sectors and in April 2022, passed regulations under the TSSEA and made changes to regulations under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).
I am writing to provide a reminder of the regulation changes under the HTA that will come into effect on January 1, 2023, and an update on the implementation of the TSSEA,” writes Jennifer Elliott, Director of the Commercial Safety and Compliance Branch.
“Amendments to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act include the following:
Removal of Exemptions
Several exemptions under the CVOR program are being removed as of January 1, 2023 and tow operators will now be required to:
- Undergo an annual vehicle inspection regardless of the weight of the tow truck
- Perform daily vehicle inspections regardless of the weight of the tow truck (commonly known as a “pre-trip” or “circle-check”)
- Be responsible for their drivers including record keeping and ensuring that they are trained, qualified and adhering to regulations
- Keep additional records including maintenance records and staff oversight
- Meet additional tow truck and road safety requirements
Note: Hours of Service exemptions remain in place for the towing industry.
New equipment requirements under the Highway Traffic Act will also be coming into effect. As of January 1, 2023, tow trucks/drivers must:
- Be equipped with lamps capable of producing intermittent flashes of amber lights to be used when stopped on a highway for the purpose of towing, transporting or providing roadside assistance services to a motor vehicle
- Carry two warning lights (i.e., flares); ensure visibility when stopped on the highway for the purpose of towing, transporting or providing roadside assistance services to a motor vehicle
- When outside the vehicle, drivers and a person assisting the driver must wear a safety vest that meets the requirements for Class 2 or 3 in Standard Z96-15 (R2020), entitled “High-visibility safety apparel,” published by the Canadian Standards Association
- Ensure all equipment, components and devices used to tow the motor vehicle are in good working order and do not exceed weight limits
- Secure the vehicles to a dolly, cradle or other similar device.”
Elliott’s letter also outlines the phased implementation of the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act:
“The TSSEA is a separate Act from the HTA and is designed to provide provincial oversight of the towing and vehicle storage sectors. It will require tow operators, tow truck drivers, and vehicle storage operators to hold a provincial certificate to operate. Under the TSSEA, registration for these certificates will begin July 1, 2023.
TSSEA violations, once implemented, will be included on the operator’s Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration (CVOR) safety record.
A phased approach is being taken for the implementation of the TSSEA to support the industry and ensure the program has the intended impacts. The first two phases establish the processes needed for certification to begin, and address road safety issues related to the existing CVOR program. The third phase will address requirements for customer protections and industry standards.
Phase 1: January 1, 2023
- As described above, application of HTA requirements that apply to other commercial motor vehicles
- Establish minimum vehicle requirements for tow trucks
Phase 2: July 1, 2023
- Introduction of three certificate types: Tow Operator, Tow Truck Driver, Vehicle Storage Operator
- Certificate entry requirements
- Appeals mechanisms
Phase 3: January 1, 2024
- Establish standards of practice to professionalize the industry
- Modernize customer protection requirements
- Consequential amendments to TSSEA and other legislation
For more information about Ontario’s requirements for operating commercial vehicles, the following reference materials are available to you or contact [email protected]: