As part of the program, ICBC will cover the costs of ARA online training courses that are focused on traffic control and the safe handling of electric vehicles.
In a recent episode of the EVfriendly podcast, Mitchell Martin, owner of Mitchell’s Towing, said: “Training is critical. It gives you knowledge on What Should I do? What are the best practices?”
I encourage each of you to watch the EVfriendly podcast on YouTube, or to listen to it whenever you download your audio podcasts. Mitchell and I spoke on a number of topics related to the changing face of towing, including how to handle, tow, store, and recover electric vehicles (EV). This is a subject that no one was talking about until about two years ago when we launched Canada’s first-and-only EV training course for towers and the EVfriendly program. This is an issue that has also caught the attention of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) and WorksafeBC, since it addresses how to safely load and secure an EV, how to conduct a risk assessment of a badly damaged one, and how to take the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.
If you have not been paid a visit by a WorkSafe officer yet, you soon will. WorkSafeBC is touring the province and dropping in on tow yards to raise awareness of the importance of appropriately storing badly damaged EVs, and ensuring that operators are putting enough space between damaged EVs and other vehicles. WorkSafe is also raising awareness of the legal requirement that employers have to ensure their employees have received adequate training for the jobs that they are assigned.
ICBC is also concerned about safe storage and towing practices when it comes to EVs. Most recently, they have included a battery disconnect fee for damaged EVs and tripled the daily storage rate for badly damaged EVs (defined as an electric vehicle that has been submerged in water, an EV that has previously caught fire, or an EV that is showing signs of thermal runaway). ICBC has also recognized the need for operator training, and so it has created the Learning, Education, Training and Sustainability (LETS) program to help ensure that operators are armed with the knowledge and confidence they need to perform their jobs safely. ICBC will pay for any of its towing operator suppliers to complete both the EVfriendly Tow Operator and the Emergency Response Traffic Control for Tow and Recovery Operators online training courses.
EVs are not a fad and they are growing exponentially, especially in B.C. where they now make up over 15% of all new car sales. The government has set growth targets for EVs aiming for 90% of all new car sales by 2030, and 100% for 2035. Canada is following suit, as well as Europe and the United States. It is important, therefore, that industry (and not just the towing industry) ensures that their employees receive the knowledge and training they need to service these vehicles.
So far over 100 operators have completed the online training with many more registered and working through the course material. The courses are comprehensive, and by the end them, you will know everything essential about how EVs work, how to conduct a risk assessment, and how to safely load, secure, and store them. Depending upon the learner, it can take anywhere from two to three hours to complete the material. It can be challenging for employers to ensure that their employees complete the training, but not doing so can open up an employer to liability should an employee injure themselves on the job.
As explained by Mitchell Martin on the EVfriendly podcast, “Enforcement is usually looked upon unfavourably by industry,” but he also recognizes that an employer has a duty to ensure that adequate training has been provided.
Martin explains that he sees it as part of his role to incentivize his operators to pursue training rather than having to force them. To do this, he will usually tie some sort of a benefit to completing the training. He feels that this is a more preferred option over having to force someone to take the training where they may not receive its full benefit.
If you are an ICBC towing supplier and wish to take advantage of this program provided by ICBC, contact email@example.com to receive instructions on registering your employees, free of cost, for both the EVfriendly and Emergency Response online courses.
Effective immediately, ICBC will cover the costs for all active ICBC tow suppliers for the following ARA programs that support tow operators with safe recoveries:
Courses must be completed by December 31, 2024, to take advantage of this offer.
How to register
To take the training, free of cost, follow the steps in the Registration Instructions (below) prior to registering through the above links.
We encourage all tow operators to complete these training sessions. If you have any questions about the overall initiative please email ICBC at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about registration can be directed to Ken Hendricks at the ARA, KenHendricks@ara.bc.ca.