Teresa is the Assistant Vice President of Government & Community Relations at CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO), Canada's largest CAA Club. She has been with CAA since 2005.
Road safety for all users is a key focus of CAA Club Group’s advocacy portfolio. Teresa is responsible for the overall direction and execution of the organization’s advocacy strategies and programs — including one of Canada’s largest elementary school safety programs, the CAA School Safety Patrol program — representing and raising awareness on relevant issues to over 2 million CAA Members and with policymakers in Ontario. She also coordinates public affairs strategies, particularly provincial government relations, with CAA's two other Ontario based clubs and works with CAA National on a number of public and government affairs files.
Teresa’s breadth and range of knowledge on infrastructure, transportation, safety, automotive and industry issues related to CAA’s work has resulted in many contributions to the development and execution of sound public policy. These include input into the province’s cycling strategy, being a member of the Premier’s panel on the Transit Investment Strategy, tow industry reform and on the transition team of the Mayor of Toronto, to name a few.
Over the last three years Teresa has released two Conference Board of Canada reports related to how much motorists contribute to the cost of infrastructure and various tools and strategies related to mitigating congestion.
Industry Expertise (6)
Highways / Railtracks
Areas of Expertise (8)
Community & Government Relations
Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
Cannabis and Road Safety
University of Toronto, Victoria University: B.A., Political Science and Criminology
Media Appearances (31)
What to know before buying a used electric vehicle
CTV News Kitchener online
A recent study from CAA found that about 16 per cent of electric vehicle (EV) owners in Ontario purchased used. CAA said more people are choosing to drive electric, especially since the Canadian government passed a new mandate at the end of 2022. The mandate is to increase the total supply of EV’s, requiring auto importers and manufacturers to meet a certain sales quota for electric or zero-emission vehicles. But for those who might be hesitant to make the switch from a gas vehicle to EV, CAA suggests a hybrid electric vehicle. “To get a sense of what the whole world is like,” said Teresa Di Felice, with CAA SCO. “But they’re not ready to fully commit. And hybrids have been around for a lot longer, so it tends to be stepping stone for a lot of people.”
Distracted driving on the rise, as 44% of Ontarians admit to engaging in it, new survey finds
Toronto Star online
“Currently, a driver can face a minimum fine of $615 up to $1,000, three demerit points and a three-day licence suspension for their first conviction of distracted driving,” said Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president for CAA SCO, in a press release. “But that’s not the only way it can cost you. A brief moment of distraction is all it takes for a collision.”
Eglinton Avenue West makes CAA’s list of top 10 worst roads in Ontario for 2023
Global News online
“The 2023 CAA Worst Roads campaign provides a valuable snapshot of the roads that the public perceives as pain points,” said Teresa Di Felice with CAA South Central Ontario. “For 20 years, this campaign has served as a powerful advocacy tool, initiating dialogues with decision-makers and driving positive change for safer roads across Ontario.”
Toronto’s potholed roads are about to get a lot worse. Here’s why drivers can expect to pay more
Toronto Star online
Teresa Di Felice, an assistant vice-president for CAA in south-central Ontario, said “every tool in the tool box needs to be pulled in order to see what can be done,” to get Toronto off the highway to pothole hell. CAA publishes an annual list of Ontario’s 10 worst roads. Last year four of them — Eglinton Avenue West, Eglinton Avenue East, Lake Shore Boulevard East and Finch Avenue West — were in Toronto.
Potholes can cause hundreds in damage to your car. So why has Toronto delayed fixing them?
Toronto Star online
More than just a blemish on our city, potholes are costly and dangerous. The average cost of repairing pothole damage to a vehicle is more than $300, and can sometimes top $6,000, depending on the type of car, according to Teresa Di Felice, assistance vice-president of government and community relations for CAA in south central Ontario. Road damage also forces drivers to swerve unexpectedly, Di Felice said, which makes streets more dangerous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. This year has been a particularly bad one for Toronto’s roads after a winter of heavy snowfall, she added. “What we all saw come the spring and sort of that final meltdown was the effects a harsh winter can have on our roads. There’s lots of crumbling, big potholes.” In the Canadian Automobile Association’s 2022 members survey, around 85 per cent of Toronto members said they often notice roads in need of improvement or repair. Four Toronto streets made the CAA’s 2022 list of Ontario’s top 10 worst roads, including Eglinton Avenue East and West, where construction of the disruptive Crosstown LRT has been delayed yet again, as well as Lake Shore Boulevard East and Finch Avenue West.
Potholes top list of city service complaints
Toronto Sun online
CAA spokesperson Teresa Di Felice said her association’s surveys indicate that people noticed additional road repairs during the pandemic, but believe roads across the province are still not in the condition they should be. Respondents to a CAA survey said that the majority of drivers encountering potholes are slowing down or swerving, resulting in potential safety hazards for all road users, she said. Damage to a vehicle can range from a few hundred dollars to $6,000, depending on the size of the pothole or even just wear and tear over the life of a vehicle, she said. “One of the key messages that we highlight in our annual Worst Roads Campaign is that people are paying out of pocket when the lack of maintenance of current infrastructure causes damage to their vehicles,” Di Felice said. “It matters to people, and people again don’t have an understanding of how they can be part of that conversation.”
How to get better mileage, save on your next tank as gas prices rise
CBC News online
The high prices have drivers grumbling, but there are a few ways to get better mileage and reduce your gas bills, says Teresa Di Felice, an assistant vice-president at the Canadian Automobile Association's south-central Ontario branch. Plan your trips Saving on gas and getting better mileage starts before you leave home. If you research your route and use traffic newscasts or driving apps, you can avoid accident zones and other slow-moving areas, which can help you save on gas, says Di Felice. Group your trips too. "Sometimes we go out some place and then get home and are like, 'Oh I meant to go to that place,' and you go out again," Di Felice said. "Try and think about the trips that you need to take, so you can combine them and avoid rush hour." Mileage is better when vehicles are running properly, says Di Felice. To keep your vehicle in good shape, she recommends ensuring engine filters are clean, brake fluids are topped up and tire pressure is optimal. "It's not good for your gas or your car if you're driving underinflated or even overinflated," she said. To learn what the optimal pressure is, Di Felice tells drivers to look for guidance printed on the inside of your driver-side car door. Because driving, road conditions and weather can impact pressure, she suggests setting a monthly alert on your phone or marking your calendar, so you review the tire pressure regularly.
These are the ten worst roads to drive on in Ontario
CTV News Toronto online
CAA assistant vice president of government and community relations, Teresa Di Felice, told CTV News Toronto the ultimate goal of this campaign is to “give people a coordinated, collaborative voice to get their message across.” “It can be challenging as an individual to have your voice heard – in particular, on infrastructure issues,” she added. “But we know the campaign works."
Speakers Corner: Are you a lane budger or an early-bird merger?
City News Toronto tv
Teresa Di Felice, AVP of Government and Community relations speaks to Pat Taney from City News. Research shows the Zipper Merge can reduce congestion by as much as 40 per cent. The Zipper Merge is a driving technique that at the source of the merge, drivers alternate, like the teeth on a zipper, into the open lane so that no line of traffic is held up. This technique maximizes available road space, which results in less time spent in line.
New Ontario tow zone pilot project
AM 640 - Corus radio
Mike Stafford the host of AM 640 Toronto's Morning Show interviews Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations for CAA, on the new provincial towing pilot program.
Ontario government announces tow zone pilot to curb roadway corruption
The Globe and Mail online
Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations for CAA South Central Ontario, said she is hopeful that the pilot will not only address problems within the towing industry but also issues of overall road safety: "CAA has long talked about the need for solutions to deal with congestion as a result of major highway incidents," she said, "and [the pilot] will hopefully lower the number of secondary collisions that arise from the impact these have."
90 per cent of Ontario drivers want regulation in violence-plagued tow truck industry, CAA poll says
Toronto Star print
According to the CAA study, commissioned in April, only one in five Ontario drivers currently feels “very protected” by the current towing system. “Consumers should have the confidence that they will be protected regardless of where in the province they are and what kind of towing services they may require,” Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations, said in a prepared statement.
Doug Ford unveils task force for towing industry
The Globe and Mail
Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations for CAA South Central Ontario, said she is “really encouraged by the announcement,” and is eager to work with the task force. “We’ve already developed what we think a framework could be, or what it should entail when it comes to regulating or licensing the towing industry in Ontario,” she said.
Insurance workers report they were ‘muscled’ by body shops as probe into tow truck wars continues
The Globe and Mail online
Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations for CAA South Central Ontario, said Thursday that the roadside-assistance provider and its partners have been “working on the building blocks for several years now” of what regulation of the tow-truck industry in Ontario should look like. “It’s kind of striking that this industry has gone for so long without it – especially in light of the fact that there have been many calls for it, over many years.”
In the GTA’s tow-truck turf wars, the race for profit leads to road rage, violence and intimidation
The Globe and Mail online
CAA has also long been calling for change. The company conducted a survey in 2017 that found most Ontarians support the idea of province-wide regulation for the towing industry. But the survey also found that people have very limited understanding of how the current industry works, or who is overseeing it. Teresa De Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations for CAA South Central Ontario, says it is a challenging issue to engage the public on. Most people don’t give the towing industry a second thought until they find themselves in a jam. “On Ontario’s highways, everybody else needs a permit to work. Whether you’re an area-maintenance contractor providing grass cutting services or trimming hedges, or you have an incident and need to set up a blocker truck. Or you’re a utility company that needs to access a pole,” she said. “Everybody else. ... except for the towing industry.”
A New Highway for the GTA?
The Agenda, TVO tv
Can the proposed GTA West highway help alleviate traffic congestion? The Ontario government announced plans to revive the Greater Toronto Area West Highway, also known as Highway 413. Called the missing link in Toronto-area highways, GTA West is meant to address congestion and bring relief to drivers. But is adding another highway the right approach to changing transportation landscape? The Agenda looks at the pros and cons of the proposal.
CAA turns to ping-pong to show why driving high is never a good idea
Insurance Business Canada online
To hold your own at ping-pong, you need to react quickly, make strategic decisions, and have decent hand-eye coordination, along with the other motor skills that allow you to hit the ball over the net instead of just swinging wildly at the air – a skillset that diminishes when a player is impaired by cannabis.
Drivers react to playful drug impairment campaign
CTV News Toronto tv
The new CAA campaign is meant to target millennials uses ping pong to demonstrate the impact of drug impairment
Company calls for tow truck operator training standards
Canadian Underwriter online
If you have a Class G driver’s licence, you could go to a tow truck company tomorrow, get some on the job training, and basically have a truck to drive and you could be towing a vehicle,” said Teresa Di Felice, CAA SCO’s assistant vice president of government and community relations, in an interview. “There really should be some provincial certification requirement to operate a tow truck in Ontario and that would come along with licensing and training requirements.”
CAA unveils Ontario 'Towing Bill of Rights' to prevent drivers from being overcharged
CTV News online
"It can often be very stressful for motorists after a collision or vehicle issue, and the Towing Bill of Rights is a quick and easy reference guide to help put the power and knowledge back in the hands of consumers,” Teresa Di Felice, a vice-president of government and community relations at CAA South Central Ontario, said in a press release.
CAA, Ontario association sign towing bill of rights
Global News online
“There are operators who do not prioritize customer service and have been taking advantage of people in need at the sign of the road,” said Terese Di Felice.
Ontario gov’t to focus on road safety as cannabis is legalized
CI Top Broker online
“It is important that the government makes road safety and motorist education a top priority,” says Teresa Di Felice, AVP of government and community relations for CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). “Ontario roads are some of the safest in North America, and we want to keep it that way when cannabis is legalized.”
CAA Report highlights ways to reduce traffic congestion
Global News 640 Toronto radio
Tasha Kheiriddin is joined by Teresa Di Felice, the AVP of Government and Community Relations from CAA SCO to go over the report.
CAA: 'Dooring' Is A Growing Problem
Extra Peterborough online
Teresa Di Felice of the CAA says dooring is continuing to be a major issue, a situation where a cyclist is hit by an opening car door.
CAA pushes the 'Dutch Reach' in annual share the road campaign
Ottawa Matters online
"We're so used to opening the door with our hand closest to the door," said Assistant Vice President of Community Relations with CAA, Teresa Di Felice. "The Dutch Reach is actually suggesting that you open the door with the opposite hand. So, if you're a driver, it would be your right hand."
C.A.A bike safety campaign underway
Breakfast Television Toronto radio
Teresa Di Felice joins us to discuss a C.A.A program that will ensure Toronto bikers stay safe.
#OBS18: Share the Road recognizes cycling leaders with Wheels of Change Awards
Share the Road Cycling Coalition online
Advocate of the Year — Teresa Di Felice
Traffic Congestion Costing Drivers Millions
Toronto is home to some of the worst traffic in Canada – that’s not news. In fact, the city has the dubious honour of being home to 10 of the 20 worst bottlenecks in the country.
Road Tolls: Will they Actually Reduce Congestion?
The Globe and Mail
“We have to be very clear about what we’re trying to achieve,” says Teresa Di Felice, director of government and community relations, CAA SCO. “If we want to achieve reductions, there are various tools, land use planning, ride sharing transit. When you move the conversation to road pricing there has to be a clear objective … If you want to change behaviour, that is a different pricing strategy.”...
Motorists Already Paying their Share: CAA
Teresa Di Felice, director of government and community relations for the CAA, said the income levels of drivers shouldn’t be a factor in the DVP/Gardiner tolling debate. “These are people who are making sacrifices in other places because they feel that they have no other choice but to drive,” Di Felice said...
One in Three Ontario Drivers Admit to Distracted Driving: Survey
“There is no excuse for driving distracted,” said Teresa Di Felice, CAA SCO’s director of government and community relations, in the release. “Making a phone call or sending a text message isn’t worth putting your life or someone else’s at risk.”...