Every company on the City of Ottawa’s standing list of tow truck drivers is refusing requests to take heavy vehicles associated with the so-called “Freedom Convoy” out of the downtown core, according to a top city official.
Ottawa has a list of companies with a standing offer to provide tow services on the municipal dime.
But city manager Steve Kanellakos told reporters Monday evening that those operators have unilaterally said “no” to the city’s requests amid the ongoing demonstration snarling Ottawa’s downtown, now in its second week.
“We’ve contacted them all and they’re all refusing … to provide heavy tow truck work,” Kanellakos said in a press conference following a special city council meeting.
He said those operators are still doing “light” work for the city like towing cars.
But it’s the heavy truck and larger vehicle jobs that are being refused.
“Many of them or most of them don’t want to do the work, especially the heavy tow truck work, because they rely on the heavy truck industry for their livelihood and they don’t want to damage that part of their business,” Kanellakos said.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has been in touch with officials in Toronto, Brampton and other Ontario cities, Kanellakos said, asking them to send resources.
But both Kanellakos and local police Deputy Chief Steve Bell said Monday that this isn’t an Ottawa-only problem. Other jurisdictions are also facing challenges convincing tow truck operators to remove convoyers.
Bell said Monday that the Ottawa police are looking at “creative solutions” to remove the demonstrators without the cooperation of tow truck operators, but declined to share specifics, citing “operational concerns.”
“We are coming towards a position where we’re not going to let the tow truck operators, and the ability to tow those vehicles out of there, be an obstacle to ending what’s occurring.”
Kanellakos said the city is reviewing its contracts with its tow providers and seeing “what actions we can take to deal with this unprecedented situation.”