NEWS

Tow truck drivers' Queen's Park protest could snarl traffic

12/09/2014 08:21 EST | Updated 02/08/2015 05:59 EST
Tow truck drivers are expected to descend on Queen's Park this morning to demonstrate against the province's recent changes to auto insurance laws. 

About 1,500 tow truck operators are expected to participate in the protest. They will be driving downtown from three locations: Bovaird Drive and Highway 410 in Brampton, Mavis Road and Highway 401 in Mississauga and Steeles Avenue and Highway 404.

Peel police were forced to divert traffic around a similar protest yesterday, and today's demonstration could lead to significant traffic delays for drivers trying to get downtown.

On Nov. 20, Ontario passed Bill 15, a law aimed at fighting insurance fraud and reducing premiums for drivers. But the legislation also reaches the towing industry, requiring tow truck operators to have permission before charging for services; post prices and other cost information; accept credit card payments from customers and provide an itemized invoice for services provided.

The new legislation also puts tow trucks under the commercial vehicle operator's registration system, an industry oversight measure from which they were previously exempt. As a result, drivers can no longer work more than 13 hours per day or more than 60 hours per week. 

Tow truck operators argue the law will limit their ability to earn a living, particularly in winter, and eventually end up costing customers more money. 

Provincial oversight of the towing industry was a key recommendation of the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force, which released its final report in November 2012. 

MORE:cbcNews