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.