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Ontario premier promises to lock up 'bad actors' in tow truck industry
TORONTO -- The Ontario government has launched a task force to reform and regulate the towing industry after several years of arsons, shootings and at least one murder connected to ongoing corruption.
The announcement comes after two major police probes into criminal activity in the industry, one of which involved a Toronto police officer allegedly providing encrypted police radios to tow truck drivers.
Premier Doug Ford said he thought the vast majority of tow truck drivers were honest people who "work their backs off" to provide for their families, but a “small group” was ruining it for the rest.
“There’s no place for that kind of activity, to all the bad actors out there, my message is very clear, the party’s over, we’re coming for you, we’ll catch you and we’ll lock you up,” Ford said Monday.
Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney said the task force includes representatives from across the provincial government, as well as the OPP.
“Our immediate focus will be making sure tow truck system is clear of criminality,” Mulroney said.
Up until now, many facets of regulating tow trucks were left to individual municipalities.
She said one practice they hope to end is the “first on scene” policy, which encourages tow truck drivers to race or engage in other reckless activity to beat one another to the scene of a collision or breakdown.
Over the past two years, groups of tow truck drivers have engaged in numerous arsons of vehicles and the murder of a driver outside his Richmond Hill home in 2018.
“Tow trucks are an essential piece of the moving economy, of our economy here in Ontario. This task force will ensure that the industry has stronger oversight so that crime does not pay,” Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said.