OTTAWA -- A new licensing regime is being imposed on Ottawa's tow truck industry.

Council approved a new business licensing regime and regulations governing towing services, aimed at enhancing consumer protection and public safety.

Under the new bylaw, all towing companies operating in Ottawa will need to:

  • Obtain a business licence to operate in Ottawa and comply with regulations.
  • Disclose towing rates to consumers before towing
  • Flat rates for certain key services to prevent over-billing
  • Storage facilities must cap storage fees at $60 per day, and vehicle owners will need "timely notice" about where their vehicle is stored

The city says to obtain a licence to operate in Ottawa, drivers would have to provide proof of a good driving record and a police check. Towing companies will have to provide proof of insurance, valid registration and details of all their drivers and vehicles.

Storage facilities will have to operate at least from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.