Toronto city hall took a step towards licensing movers Thursday in a bid to stem a fraud problem in the industry.
Councillors on the city’s licensing and standards committee voted unanimously Thursday to ask the province for the power to licence and regulate household movers within the city.
Toronto Police officers who cracked open a major fraud involving movers last year urged councillors on the committee to push for the change.
Det. Kevin Hooper said the city should have been licensing movers 10 years ago.
“I’m going to say this happens at least five times a week (in Toronto),” Hooper told reporters after the vote.
That estimate doesn’t include unreported cases where the extortion happens but the victims don’t contact police, he added.
Hooper argued there is a “massive need” to licence movers, particularly those companies that aren’t members of any association of movers.
“If these movers are not licensed you are taking your chances,” he said. “I would highly encourage every person that is going to move to at least contact the Canadian Association of Movers.”
The debate saw councillors on both sides of the political spectrum in agreement.
Left-leaning Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker said everyone has either experienced this or knows someone who has been “plain and simple ripped off by bandits who show up in a van and cheat people.
“It’s a very frustrating fraud, it’s a very frustrating crime,” De Baermaeker said.
Right-leaning Councillor Frances Nunziata agreed.
“It’s crazy what they’re doing,” Nunziata said. “I do believe we need to regulate.”
City council still has to approve the request to the province at its next meeting.