Update on the Refuse-To-Issue Program

January 16, 2017

There are roughly 20,000 vehicles impounded each year through the government vehicle impoundment (VI) program, with the majority of impoundments lasting 30 days or longer. Longer impoundment periods result in increasing amounts of unclaimed vehicles. This causes an administrative and financial burden for many towers, especially those who operate in rural areas outside the Lower Mainland where cheaper cars are in greater abundance. 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 RoadSafetyBC (formerly OSMV), which included a program for tow operators known as Refuse-to-Issue, or RTI. Section 255 (11) (b) of the Motor Vehicle 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 licence 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 RoadSafetyBC.


After considerable ARA advocacy efforts and negotiations, RoadSafetyBC implemented the Refuse-to-Issue program on April 4, 2016.

The ARA will continue to engage in dialogue with RoadSafetyBC in order to help resolve disputes, assist its members, and advocate for efficiencies.


  • The ARA was consulted prior to the implementation of the RTI program in order to assist RoadSafetyBC with communicating the program rules and policies to industry.