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Tow operators

– ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’?

By MPP Toby Barrett


By and large, towing companies, garages and storage yards provide efficient and reputable service. However, a minority are taking advantage of consumers and their insurance coverage.
Many of us do have experiences with the towing industry, and mine have been positive in Haldimand–Norfolk. We’ve got local companies and garages that help out with understanding and honesty, and their reputation is evident. The same goes for CAA. I’ve been a long-standing member, and I value their service.
However some in the business do not meet the expected standards. Some tow truck drivers charge exorbitant rates. Customers report having their vehicles towed to far-off storage facilities to increase mileage, thus raising prices. People report going to pick up their vehicle from vehicle storage lots, only to find they’ve been asked to pay unexpectedly large amounts before their vehicles are released.
This is one reason your Ontario Legislature is debating Bill 15: Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance. The proposed legislation sets qualifications and standards governing the operation of tow trucks, including driver certification, training requirements and prescribed penalties to violators.

There are approximately 1,200 tow truck and vehicle storage operators in Ontario, and about 3,000 tow truck drivers. Most of them provide good service to their customers and contribute to keeping our roads free and clear by removing vehicles, including those involved in collisions, quickly and efficiently.
But, part of the tow truck business is a tangled web of ‘connections’ and in some cases fraud and organized crime. It’s a business in the cities rife with bikers and others who use the hauling of broken vehicles throughout southern Ontario to, as we read in the media a few years ago, transport drugs and weapons in towed vehicle trunks. I think people may recall the eight-person massacre at Shedden, near London, a few years back, where three of the eight victims were tow truck drivers – all either members or affiliates of a well-known motorcycle gang. At least two Toronto-area towing companies were implicated in the incident.
Some towing operators are involved in fraud rings that inflate auto insurance claims by steering claimants to particular auto body storage and repair shops, health care clinics and legal service providers.
Body shops are paying tow truck drivers extremely well for bringing vehicles to them, and often, under-the-table kickbacks account for 10-15 per cent of a vehicle’s final repair bill. Of course, the more damaged the vehicle, the more lucrative the commission.
It should also be noted however there is also a large number of very professional operators that operate their businesses with honesty and integrity. These businesses operate with repeat business as their main objective and work hard at building a large and loyal clientele. It is also true that the professional operators get caught in the stigma of being part of an industry that carries a very poor reputation due to a “guilty by association” attitude by both the public and the insurance industry. Some tow truck operators in Ontario are convinced there is no future in this industry.

For the honest, hard workers in the towing industry just trying to make a living, Bill 15 has the potential to inflict collateral damage and paint the good, the bad and the ugly with the same brush?

Newsroom

 

Barrett urges people to testify on insurance bill

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett agrees with committee hearings to allow more input on Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014 in the wake of second reading debate on the legislation Monday.

[Read More}


Unemployment trend continues
SIMCOE - For 93 consecutive months Ontario’s unemployment has stood higher than the national average.

[Read More}

 

Who’s looking out for us when it comes to infectious disease?

Simcoe – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how well Ontario is prepared to deal with emerging infectious disease.

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Farmers, food banks and the needy will now benefit from Local Food Act

QUEEN'S PARK – Good news today for farmers, food banks and the needy as one of the most important aspects of the Local Food Act is proclaimed.

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Ontario’s finances continue in wrong direction

SIMCOE – Ontario’s deficit continues to go up and up and up, according to the Ontario Government’s Public Accounts Office.

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Let’s work through U.S. Steel creditor protection one step at a time: Barrett
SIMCOE – “Our Opposition Caucus is concerned about the significant news that U.S. Steel Canada has applied for creditor protection,” said Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett. “I have been in touch with the union, the company and the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment, and Infrastructure. It is important all concerned work together for common cause.”

[Read More}

 

Why isn’t the champion of local food serving up good news?

SIMCOE – Why are people so confused with the status of the Local Food Act?

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Uncertainty swirls with regard to Local Food Act
OUTDOOR FARM SHOW, WOODSTOCK -- Where does the Local Food Act stand?

[Read More]

 

Barrett calls for action on poverty
SIMCOE – In the wake of the government releasing its second five-year anti-poverty strategy, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett questioned what will truly be done to assist the less fortunate in society.

[Read More]

 

Ontario loses almost 30,000 full time jobs in July

SIMCOE – Statistics Canada’s July jobs report shows Ontario lost 29,300 full time jobs last month.

[Read More]

 

Hydro customers heavily subsidizing energy pensions

SIMCOE – Every day taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to save and invest, largely because they are paying for unaffordable energy costs and bloated energy agency pensions.

[Read More]

 

New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

[Read More]

 

New tax driving Ontario airline tickets sky high

QUEEN’S PARK –Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the government’s new aviation tax could have a direct impact on the riding.

[Read More]

 

Carr lauded in Ontario Legislature

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett paid tribute to Annaleise Carr’s Radical Crossing 2.0 in the Ontario Legislature earlier today.

[Read More]

 

Barrett echoes concerns about hunting and fishing license money

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP wants to see more accountability from the Ministry of Natural Resources Special Purpose Account (SPA), especially in light of proposals to increase fees.

[Read More]

 

Barrett renews call for gutting Asian carp imported into Ontario
QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed his call for the province to require Asian carp entering Ontario first be gutted.

[Read More]

 

Budget leading Ontario down an expensive garden path

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett believes the Ontario budget is not only leading the province down the wrong path, it’s taking it down the garden path.

[Read More]

 

Barrett appointed Opposition Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Critic

QUEEN'S PARK - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has been appointed as the PC Opposition’s Critic for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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Premier’s promise has a $30.2 billion discrepancy

Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett took time during Question Period today to remind Premier Wynne that in 2012 she committed to eliminate Ontario’s deficit by fiscal year 2017-18.

[Read More]

 

Ontario credit rating outlook downgraded

QUEEN’S PARK – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Ontario’s credit rating outlook to negative.

[Read More]

 

Legislature reconvenes July 2

SIMCOE – The Ontario Legislature resumes on July 2.

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Back to work at Queen’s Park in July – Barrett

Simcoe – Fresh off the campaign trail, MPPs are being called back to Queen’s Park on July 2nd.

[Read More]

 

Lack of full-time Ag Minister reflected in less than adequate budget

SIMCOE – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett is questioning how farmers are benefiting from a part-time Agriculture Minister given the low profile of farming and rural Ontario in the May 1 budget.

[Read More]

 

Local MPP looking for input on Not-For-Profit legislation
Queen’s Park – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett wants input from local not-for-profit organizations regarding the government’s Bill 85 titled, Not-for-Profit Corporations Act (ONCA).

[Read More]


Barrett reiterates need for Hagersville bypass

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett renewed the call for a truck bypass in Hagersville during debate in the Ontario Legislature today.

[Read More]

 

Why hasn’t Wynne proclaimed Local Food Act?

SIMCOE – Toby Barrett, Haldimand-Nofolk MPP, is questioning why the Local Food Act hasn’t been proclaimed even though it was passed six months ago. The act would increase local food in the broader public sector.

[Read More]

 

Deadlines approaching for big game draws

HAGERSVILLE – Draw dates for big game entry draws are approaching.

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Electricity prices going up – again!

SIMCOE – May Day will be more of a distress call than a celebration this year as Ontario residents already struggling with skyrocketing electricity prices will start paying even more.

[Read More]

 

Ontario an economic drain on Canada: study

SIMCOE – A recently-released independent study has found Ontario’s lagging economy is dragging down the rest of the country.

[Read More]

 

Invasive species bill requires extensive consultation: Barrett

Queen’s Park – During an Ontario Legislature speech on the Invasive Species Act – Bill 167 - Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett reminded homeowners that not all invasive species are aquatic.

[Read More]

 

Pull over for flashing green lights

QUEEN’S PARK – April 10 marked the 20th anniversary of the passage of legislation that provided volunteer firefighters the right to use flashing green lights when responding to a fire call.

[Read More]

 

College of Trades one year old

QUEEN’S PARK – Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett joined the spirit of thousands of
apprentices across the province who noted the first anniversary of paying new fees to the
Ontario College of Trades with frustration and grief.

[Read More]


Ontario’s long-term economy forecast is dismal: Barrett

QUEEN'S PARK – Ontario’s Long-Term Report on the Economy is additional proof the
McGuinty-Wynne government has no plan to create jobs or balance the budget, Haldimand-
Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett has charged.

[Read More]