Auto Service World
News   February 19, 2020   by Allan Janssen

B.C. groups push for mandatory certification

The Automotive Retailers Association of British Columbia (ARA) has launched a campaign to bring mandatory trade certification to the province.

The association wants all automotive technicians to have a provincially recognized certificate of qualification in order to effect vehicle repairs.

British Columbia is currently the only one that does not require mandatory certification for automotive technicians.

ARA says compulsory trade certification would elevate professionalism and ensure that vehicles are maintained and repaired by an automotive technician who is qualified to do so. It would give consumers greater confidence in the automotive repair and service industry.

“A vehicle repaired incorrectly is not just bad for business,” a call-to-action from ARA state. “It has the potential to cause harm to the driver and those they share the road with.”

The province’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills, and Training, Melanie Mark, addressed ARA members at the association’s annual general meeting in September 2019. She noted that while the initiative of compulsory trade certification has merit, more is required of the ARA in order for government to make this issue a priority. Specifically, she suggested that ARA lobby local members of the provincial legislative assembly (MLAs), bringing data and statistics that make a compelling case.

The association is now asking its members to meet with their local MLAs through a grassroots campaign, and send letters expressing the need for mandatory certification.

ARA is providing materials that can be presented to politicians and provincial government workers, and has identified key MLAs that carry specific influence within government.

The Automotive Service Business Network (ASBN), a web forum for aftermarket professionals, is also promoting the lobbying campaign.

Bob Paff, president of ASBN, says the issue has been a thorn in his side for years, and was one of the reasons he started the forum.

He is offering ASBN resources as a way to create a dialogue on this subject and finally develop a lobbying plan to convince the government that the auto repair and service industry must be taken seriously as industry professionals.

“We need everyone’s attention on this issue and that means ASAP,” he told his members. “This issue has to be eliminated once and for all.”

He said advanced technology has given the industry an idea of what is in store for technicians.

“If the general public found out that businesses are not required to hire certified technicians or that anybody with a tool box can call themselves qualified technicians, you know there would be an uproar.”

ASBN supports the idea of a letter-writing campaign to ensure that MLAs have an idea of the issue.

“We need to flood the in-boxes of all our members of the Legislative Assembly, voicing the need to have compulsory trade certification within our industry,” said Paff.

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19 Comments » for B.C. groups push for mandatory certification
  1. Scott Kershaw says:

    The world is a changing place and that includes education. It is important that technicians can demonstrate the knowledge they have attained but we need to make sure we are not dictating how the technicians of the future attain that knowledge. Is it time to address our dates education system? More discussion and debate is needed on this topic.

    • Ralph Garnett says:

      It would seem simple. The days of being able to do what used to be considered even simple maintenance are GONE!
      Even on many vehicle 10+ years old, you must be able to do a scan tool assisted brake bleed to make the vehicle safe.
      Calibrate a transfer case encoder after replacement.
      reset adaptive values after a “Tune up” or plug replacement.
      There are the educational options available to any one truly interested in career advancement.
      I suspect the challenge in BC after decades of avoiding the necessity will be a lack of qualified mentors & facilities to teach.
      I know the argument is that there are Certified technicians out there doing poor work too. But at least if the person working on your vehicle has completed a minimum of training, they should be able to choose to do the work correctly.

  2. John Rinaldi says:

    I agree that automotive mechanics should have Provincial certification, but where does that leave the DIY non-certified individuals who do all kinds of work on their cars? How many vehicles on the highways are not safe because of this issue?

  3. Clara Hooper says:

    This has been a long time pet peeve of mine and many techs that I know. I know of several repair shops that have no certified tech on duty at any time as well as those that only sometimes have techs on duty. It is a horrible saftey concern. I hope this mandate comes into effect very soon.

  4. TC says:

    i agree with mandatory certification in this trade, as when unqualified people do repairs it involves everyone on the road,,, i have seen some pretty terrible repairs by people!! but anyone can go to canadian tire buy a ball joint and put it in themselves,,all u gotta do is watch youtube and ur an expert 🙂 so what’s the cure??

  5. Doug says:

    As far as I know, it is not only B.C. that does not require licensing, that list also includes Quebec.

    • Avatar photo Allan Janssen says:

      No, that is not correct, Doug. In Quebec, the trade is controlled and regulated by the Parity Committee of the Automotive Services Industry (CPA). As I understand it, you have to complete three years as an apprentice, racking up hours before you can take the professional qualification exam to become a journeyman.

      • richard dunn says:

        As i understand it,only Montreal and maybe Quebec city have it,i know in Gatineau they don t have the CPA

      • Steve says:

        Wrong. The whole province isn’t covered by the CPA. A few areas kicked the CPA out, so no rules there. Once you have your “licence”, you are not obligated to go do more testing to keep it, which is pointless in my opinion. My dad is 71, B tech since forever, and could of chosen to not do any training to keep up with technology

      • Chris. B says:

        As a licensed heavy truck and coach/duty mechanic of over 25 years experience. I completely agree, unqualified individuals have no business working on someone else’s vehicle. However The wage situation in BC for mechanics in general is part of the problem. In Alberta a decent wage is over 45$ an hour, BC even in major cities is half that. Doesn’t exactly inspire professionalism.

  6. MR says:

    I’ve always said Joe Blow shouldn’t be legally allowed to buy brake and steering parts over the counter. I’ve seen some stuff that just shouldn’t have happened had the person been a trained professional

  7. Peter Hamilton says:

    It’s been proven time over time a license only says you should know what you are doing I’ve been in the automotive trade all my life I have meet some really awesome licensed technicians and non licensed technicians I’ve also meet some licensed technicians I would not let them open my hood let alone repair my car licenses are only a way for the government too make money

  8. Ken Hart says:

    Gee, one would think ICBC would be all over this! If there is a fatality involved I’m pretty sure if your not a certified mechanic there is no insurance, the garage policy probably is the same.
    If you want to work at a vehicle inspection facility , you must be licensed even if your not an inspector, if you want to repair a car

  9. Jon says:

    Comparing the issues between provinces with mandatory certification and those without would demonstrate whether or not such an initiative would benefit the people of BC. In my experience mandatory certification by a government agency is the absolute worst way to ensure high quality technicians. I’ve known of certified techs that I wouldn’t trust with a wheelbarrow repair, actually I went to trade school with a few of them…

  10. Bob says:

    Went to the dealership with an airbag warning (err 42 – Ford). Mechanic confirmed the sensor was rusted out and didn’t replace it. Then reset my power drivers seat to crush my knee caps. Only ever had this happen one before, two years ago. Same dealership. Operations manager thought it was funny. Gross negligence and assault and nothing can be done about it.

  11. Paul Brar says:

    I am not in the favour of this, the mechanical shop price already high and if this is done it will goes even higher. I love to work on my car myself please don’t stop me. I am doing it since 20 years never a problem. I know how to keep safe my self in road it’s a common sense, if you don’t know what you doing please don’t do it but People please wake up and open your eyes what you asking.

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