Restricted Tow Zone Pilot Program in GTA to commence Mid-December


Information updated today on the Government of Ontario website indicates the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) will be operationalizing its Tow Zone pilot (announced earlier this year) starting December 13, 2021 in the GTA.

The goals of the Tow Zone Pilot are to:

  • Ensure tow operators have the training, experience and proper equipment to clear highways safely and efficiently;
  • Reduce congestion and delays on provincial highways by clearing the highway more quickly;
  • Help ensure reasonable tow rates for drivers and companies by providing standard pricing and invoicing for towing services in the restricted tow zones.

Since 2017, the Ontario Trucking Association has worked with MTO, the OPP, the responsible segment of the heavy towing industry, and like-minded stakeholders to bring change to the sector and improve clearance times for collisions; provide consumer protections and improve overall safety of incident management on Ontario’s highways.

“With the full weight of the provincial government behind the movement to bring accountability and transparency to towing, the trucking industry looks forward to a new-era where we no longer fall victim to the asphalt pirates who have been tarnishing the image of reputable tow operators and making their living by gouging unsuspecting trucking companies involved in collisions or breakdowns in the GTA,” said Geoff Wood, OTA’s Sr VP, Policy.

The restricted tow zones are as follows:

  • Restricted Towing Zone 1: Highway 401 from Highway 400 east to Morningside Avenue;
  • Restricted Towing Zone 2: Highway 401 from Highway 400 west to Regional Road 25; Highway 427 from QEW to Highway 409,  Highway 409 from Highway 427 to  Highway 401;
  • Restricted Towing Zone 3: Highway 400 from Highway 401 to Highway 9;
  • Restricted Towing Zone 4: QEW from Highway 427 to Brant Street.

Click here for a detailed map. The tow zones will also be identified by official signage posted along the highway segments.

Restricted towing zones are defined as the above sections of provincial highways where only authorized towing companies can remove vehicles that require a tow. This means no other towing company can solicit towing of vehicles within a restricted towing zone. Towing companies eligible for the program have gone through a significant government vetting process and will be under direct government supervision. Oversight will also include ongoing monitoring as well as a complaints line and dispute resolution channels.

Towing of breakdowns and impoundments is based on a flat rate that includes towing for a 10-kilometre distance. Towing and recovery of collisions is based on an hourly rate. Hourly billed items are based on one-hour minimum for the first hour and 30-minute increments thereafter. Previous challenges with towing operators charging trucking companies four-hour minimums for the removal of disabled vehicles will no longer be permitted and the owners of the vehicles will have the right to decide where their vehicles are taken.

“We look forward to the successes this program will bring to the trucking industry and establishing additional connections and partnerships with the many reputable tow operators operating in the province,” continued Wood.

OTA will be hosting educational webinars over the coming weeks alongside MTO to bring further details of the program to OTA members and continue to monitor the effectiveness of the program with MTO, OPP and like-minded stakeholders.

For complete details of the tow zone pilot including instructions on how to access towing services in the pilot zones and other key safety messaging, click here. OTA members with questions can email




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