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Hazelmere Country Club
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Surrey, B.C.
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Hazelmere Golf Course
Surrey, BC

Refuse-to-Issue Program

June 20, 2012

The issue: Unclaimed vehicles left in towing storage yards are a persistent and costly issue for towers in British Columbia. To assist with this problem, the ARA helped negotiate Bill 14 – 2010 with the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV), which included a program for tow operators known as Refuse-to-Issue, or RTI. But despite the Bill’s enactment on September 20, 2010, plus repeated promises, the RTI program has yet to be implemented.

Section 255 (11) (b) of the Act states that the Office of the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles (OSMV) may direct the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) to refuse to issue a license or service to an owner of an unclaimed impounded vehicle for non-payment of fees. This amendment was included after lengthy consultation with the towing industry. Section 255 (11) (b) was agreed upon by both industry and the OSMV.

The Impact: Since the enactment of Bill 14-2010, there have been over thirty thousand vehicles impounded with over two-thirds of those for 30 days or longer. However, in many parts of the province, the number of unclaimed vehicles can be as high as 60% of all impounded vehicles under the program. This represents a financial loss to B.C. towing companies as high as six million annually.

There has been little effort on the part of both the OSMV and ICBC to enforce what has already been enacted into law. Since September 2010, we have been given conflicting information by both the OSMV and ICBC. Most recently, we are being told by ICBC that the implementation of this program will not be considered until the 2013 budget planning cycle, and even then implementation will be conditional, depending on budget constraints.

ARA Position:  Further delays in implementation of the RTI program are unacceptable. B.C. Towers provide a valuable service to the public and need to be fairly compensated.

  • The ARA advocates equal treatment for B.C. towers, and that the RTI program should be implemented immediately.
  • The ARA has consulted with both the OSMV and ICBC, but to no avail; we have now taken the matter to the provincial government and it has been included as part of the government’s review of ICBC.
  • We urge Towing & Recovery Division Members to write to their local MLA and ask for their support (please see letter to MLA on the TRD member homepage).

For additional information, please contact Ken Hendricks at