Update on the Refuse-to-Issue (RTI) Program

January 27, 2015

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 RoadSafetyBC (formerly 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 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 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 RoadSafetyBC.

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

There has been little effort on the part of both RoadSafetyBC and ICBC to implement the RTI program. Since September 2010, we have been given conflicting information by both RoadSafetyBC and ICBC. We were informed by ICBC that the implementation of this program will not be considered until the 2013 budget planning cycle, and even then, implementation would be conditional, depending on budget constraints. Most recently, however, we were informed by RoadSafetyBC that if RTI’s were implemented for drivers license renewals only, rather than on all insurance services provided by ICBC, that our chances for implementation of the RTI program will be greatly enhanced.

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 will continue to engage in dialogue with RoadSafetyBC, ICBC, and the Ministry of Transportation of the importance of this program to the towing and recovery industry.
  • 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 kenhendricks@ara.bc.ca