Canadian Underwriter

Aviva reacts to new Ontario towing restrictions

March 3, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Aviva Canada is supporting new provincial towing restrictions on some Toronto area provincial expressways.

On some sections of road, a single towing company will be contracted to remove private passenger vehicles that need to be towed, the Ontario government announced March 2. It is part of a pilot program that the government could renew in future. Under the restrictions scheduled to start this summer, no towing company, other than the one with the provincial contract, can solicit towing of vehicles within a restricted tow zone.

New restrictions will help resolve accidents more quickly, Aviva Canada chief claims officer Bryant Vernon said in a statement.

“We have helped many vulnerable customers who’ve been taken advantage of by today’s unregulated towing companies and we continue to educate our customers about the steps they can take to reduce their risk of a bad outcome,” he added.

Aviva provided Canadian Underwriter Wednesday with some examples of Aviva clients who had bad experiences after having their vehicles towed.

In one case, a client slid off the road near Georgina, about an hour north of Toronto, and three tow trucks showed up. The client chose one that had her sign a contract for a rental car in a nearby carpool parking lot. She was told her car would be towed to a shop in Markham, which borders Toronto to the north, and the tow truck driver gave her the address where her car would be.

It turns out the car was towed to a shop further away in Oakville, about 40 minutes west of Toronto. To get her car back, the client had to go all the way to Oakville and sign a release form. She also got charged three tows instead of one.

With the proposed Ontario restrictions, clients with broken down cars in the restricted zones will be required to use the authorized tow company.

The restricted zones will be on certain sections of Highways 401 (from Highway 400 to Morningside Ave), 427 (from the Queen Elizabeth way to Highway 409), 409 (from Highway 427 to Highway 401), 400 (from Highway 401 to Highway 9) and the Queen Elizabeth Way (from Brant St. to Highway 427).

Police may permit a motorist to use their roadside assistance membership (like CAA) if they determine that the vehicle is in a safe location on the shoulder.

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