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Towing industry was not consulted on Emergencies Act: Graves

Towing companies which serve the Trucking industry 365 days per year have no idea how the government’s Emergencies Act declaration might imact their businesses. Photo: Pine Ridges Services

“We have two priorities: the safety of our drivers, and the preservation of our towing businesses."
--Mark Graves, Provincial Towing Association of Ontario

Towing industry spokesman Mark Graves says the Trudeau government did not ask the industry for advice or input before announcing that tow trucks and drivers would be commandeered to remove vehicles under the Emergencies Act invoked on February 14th. Graves is the president of the Provincial Towing Association of Ontario.

“As far as commenting on what Prime Minister Trudeau or Chrystia Freeland has said, we won’t know anything until we’re handed something on paper which we can get a legal opinion on,” Graves told Road Warrior News in an interview.

“We have two priorities: the safety of our drivers, and the preservation of our towing businesses,” Graves states.

“It’s such a slippery slope…it’s a very delicate situation. We don’t want to pick sides; we’re going to remain neutral. We don’t want to go against the government; we also don’t want to go against the companies that the very companies that hire us on a daily basis.

“We don’t yet understand what this Emergencies Act can do or can’t do as far as forcing a private industry to do something that might affect their businesses down the road.”

When Trudeau announced he was invoking the Emergencies Act he did so at a press conference, not in the House of Commons. No paper documentation was filed with Parliament to support the declaration beyond what exists in the Emergencies Act itself, which makes no mention of tow trucks.

“We need to understand if (Trudeau’s statement) contravenes OSHA rules, or Ministry of Labor and rules for health and safety of the employees,” Graves notes.

“The reality here is that there are many facets to this.  What about potential damages to the truck? Who is responsible for the business practices down the road that are affected and the loss of revenues as a result of being forced to do something that we really don’t haven’t had a part in?”

Ironically, Graves points out, the towing industry has fought to get essential service status like fire, police and ambulance, but that status was repeatedly denied.

“All of a sudden the government says, ‘Now we can compel you to work.’ You know, we’re not paid by the government. We’ve got no guarantees of work for the government. Until they’ve provided something in writing, and we’ve got a legal opinion on it, we really can’t say how we’ll react.”

Road Warrior News spoke to two working Tow Truck drivers, both of whom asked not to be named and both of who stated they have no intention of towing vehicles for Canada’s government under the Emergencies Act.

“Can you say, ‘tyrannical dictatorship’?” one asked ruefully.

Graves asks, “They have a military, they have tow trucks in the military, and they have equipment that’s capable of moving these trucks. Why would they use private industry?”