A licence is required to own a tow truck, which is a vehicle that the public can pay to tow other vehicles. Individual owners may drive their tow truck without obtaining a separate tow truck driver licence.
Please note, starting January 1, 2024, the City’s authority to licence the towing and vehicle storage sector will end and all of the provincial Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act (TSSEA) provisions will come into effect. This means that starting January 1, tow truck drivers, tow truck owners and public garages that exclusively receive or store towed vehicles will no longer require licences from the City, but will require certification from the province.
During the transition period leading up to January 1, the City will continue to issue tow truck owner and driver licences and applicants will need to pay the $1,301.62 non-refundable application fee.
The City will automatically renew licences that expire between October 1 to December 30, 2023. A new licence that will expire on December 31, 2023 will be mailed to applicable licence holders.
The province is now accepting applications for towing or vehicle storage certificates. To reduce an overlap in fees paid to both the province and municipalities, the province’s certificate fees are waived until July 2024.
Find out how to get a towing or vehicle storage certificate.
In June 2021, the Ontario government passed the Towing and Storage Safety and Enforcement Act (TSSEA) to establish a framework to transition municipal oversight of the towing and vehicle storage sectors to the province as of January 1, 2024.
The Transitioning Oversight of the Towing and Vehicle Storage Sector to the Province of Ontario staff report outlines recommendations to facilitate this transition including:
Learn more about the province’s changes to tow and storage rules and the consultation and research results from the province’s towing task force.
Sole proprietorships (individuals), partnerships or corporations.
Two pieces of government-issued identification from ALL directors/officers on the Corporation (one must be photo ID):
All applicants must also provide the following:
Corporations must also provide:
If a director of the corporation is unable to apply in person at the Licence & Permit Issuing Office, a designate may apply on their behalf. The designate must:
Note: The designate will not be able to sign the Tow Truck Acknowledgment Form or the Annual Return Form.
Applicants must provide an original Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check issued by a Canadian Police Service within 280 days prior to the application.
A designate applying on behalf of a corporation must also provide a Criminal Record & Judicial Matters Check for each officer and director of the Corporation.
All tow truck operators must sign a Tow Truck Acknowledgment Form which includes:
This form MUST be signed by one of the officers or directors of the company.
Applicants who will also drive the tow truck must present a valid provincial driver’s licence.
Applicants must provide proof of
The completed insurance form must be signed and stamped by the insurer.
A schedule of rates is to be filed at the East York Civic Centre, 850 Coxwell Ave. The schedule of rates should list maximum charges for specific towing services. Towing rates set by the City do not need to be filed.
A schedule of rates must be re-filed when any changes occur or when upon renewal of a licence. The list of rates will only be accepted on the approved City of Toronto form can only be signed by a director of the Corporation.
An original copy of the provincial vehicle registration, where the name and address match the applicant’s.
If the applicant is a partnership or corporation, the vehicle ownership must be registered to the partnership or corporation.
Client’s Name: 10 cm. (approx. 4 inches) in height
Licence Number: 6.3 cm. (approx. 2.5 inches) in height
Plate Number: 15 cm. (approx. 6 inches) in height
The run sheet which tow truck drivers will use to record their tows must be approved by City staff.
It must include:
An Annual Inspection Certificate that has been completed within the last 12 months must be provided. If the Annual Inspection Certificate is over 36 days old, a valid Safety Standards Certificate issued by an approved Ministry of Transportation Vehicle Inspection Centre, not be more than 36 days old, must also be submitted.
Sole Proprietors are required to provide a valid provincial driver’s licence and driving record abstract: a three year driving history recorded by the Ministry of Transportation. This must be less than 30 days old.
This record, along with other documents submitted, will determine whether there are concerns with the applicant obtaining a licence.
Applications for new tow truck licences need to be submitted online. You cannot apply for these licences in-person.
Save yourself time and apply online. Please have all required documents ready to upload before starting the application, as it requires 10-15 minutes to complete and cannot be saved. Download a step by step guide on how to submit a new application. Licence application fees can be paid online or by sending a cheque.
If you have already submitted an application you may upload additional documents using your upload token.
If you need to pick up or drop off plates in-person, you must book an appointment at the Licence and Permit Issuing Office, 850 Coxwell Avenue, 3rd Floor. Walk-ins will not be accepted. You must be the owner or custodian of the plate.
Please arrive 10-15 mins early to check in and be on time for your appointment or you may be turned away and asked to re-book for another day and time, subject to availability.
A photo of the applicant must be submitted with all other required application documents. It is essential that the photo provided complies with the Licence Application Photo Requirements. Failure to do so may result in delayed or rejected applications.
ML&S shall deny an application for, or a renewal for any business, trade or calling for which a vehicle and it’s driver are licenced or required to be licenced by the City under this Chapter and for which a licencesee is required to hold a valid provincial driver’s licence under this Chapter where the licensee or applicant has:
Despite these screening criteria, if a licence has been previously issued or renewed and the applicant’s or licensee’s record discloses no new breach of the screening criteria, the licence may be issued or renewed without the matter being referred to the Toronto Licensing Tribunal.
These screening criteria do not apply to any offence for which a licensee or applicant has been granted a criminal record suspension (i.e. a pardon) by the Parole Board of Canada.
To register a replacement vehicle the following documents can be submitted through our online renewal portal: