QUEEN'S PARK - Ontario PC GTA Affairs Critic, Gila Martow (MPP for Thornhill), along with the CAA and those who work within the towing and vehicle storage industry, are disappointed and concerned that the government is not moving quickly to implement Bill 30, the Highway Incident Management Act. Martow spoke on the subject today during Question Period.
“Last session, this Government passed Bill 15 which combined two distinct pieces of legislation: auto insurance reforms and government regulation of the towing industry,” said Martow. “Unfortunately, missing from this new legislation was a concrete plan to address highway incident management. My Private Member’s Bill, Bill 30, the Highway Incident Management Act, would address this missing piece.”
Bill 30 requires the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police to create an advisory committee to analyse highway incident management to develop a comprehensive program looking to improve the issues contributing to highway incidents and traffic flow.
In January 2015, the Ministry of Government and Consumer services (MGCS) and the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) brought together a volunteer panel of stakeholders with experience related to the towing and vehicle storage industry. The goal was to come up with suggestions for the government’s consideration to support the towing and storage aspects of Bill 15, the Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014. Deloitte’s report on the process stated: “In discussing these issues, two additional related themes emerged for which the Panel had strong opinions that the Province address: harmonization between municipal and provincial requirements, and the need for improved traffic incident management in Ontario.”
The report also said: “Many panel members felt that a comprehensive analysis and solution to incident management would help alleviate other issues raised in this report.”
Martow advocates we move forward with this missing puzzle piece. Other metropolitan cities have moved to create well-coordinated teams to handle highways incidents because they have recognized its value and importance. As stated in the report mentioned above, “TheUnited States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration have developed consolidated traffic incident management protocols that guide members of towing and recovery, law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, transportation, and emergency management. These protocols consist of planned and coordinated multi-disciplinary processes to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible.”
Martow believes the Highway Incident Management Act is necessary if we want to protect motorists, taxpayers, businesses, and visitors.
“If the government does not want to put forward this bill for passage, why not bring this bill to the house for debate?” added Martow. “As a member of the PC Caucus, the Official Opposition, I am concerned that this government is playing politics as opposed to creating safer conditions on our highways.”
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