Auto Service World
Feature   March 1, 2006   by Sean Rodrigue, owner

Why is government trying to put us out of business?

It seems these days that all levels of government are working against us doesn't it?...

It seems these days that all levels of government are working against us doesn’t it?

The never-ending saga of trying to operate an independent repair facility in a profitable way is getting harder and harder everyday thanks in no small part to all three levels of government.

The Federal government treats technicians and independent repair facility owners like second-class citizens. The Provincial governments change the rules of the game at whim, which always means more cost to us, the shop owners and technicians. The Municipal governments keep finding new ways to shove their sticky fingers ever deeper into our pockets.

We are essentially left to fend for ourselves in an ever changing, shrinking market place.

Sure, the manufacturers and dealers are after our traditional service business. Yes, modern vehicles require less frequent repairs. Definitely the cost of keeping pace with technology is becoming staggering.

But these are the battles we are already accustomed to. What about the ones we don’t see every day? Lets take a quick look at what we, as an industry are facing shall we.

On the Federal government level, we have had little to no action on the “Right to Repair” issue for years now. The Federal government can go to political war over soft wood and tuna but not for the industry that keeps this nation’s wheels turning smoothly. It’s almost as if the Federal government is afraid of tackling the automotive manufactures and legislating information accesses as our neighbours to the South have done. Are we as technicians and repair facility owners not worthy of their political support? Does the government not know that without proper service and repair information that a vital tax and employment generating industry will effectively be shut down? Is the government just afraid the manufacturers will pull out of Canada, shutting down assembly plants and causing massive layoffs? I personally think it’s just that our government thinks of us as second-class citizens, not worthy of fair treatment. One only has to look at inequitable taxation laws for proof of that.

Our Provincial governments are no better with antiquated policies and ever-changing rules, ineffective apprenticeship programs and skyrocketing energy and insurance costs. This brings me to the next thorn in our collective sides, Municipal government.

With new taxation powers being delivered to the Municipal government, we are about to take another direct hit in the bottom line. Higher taxes for services already not rendered. What do I mean by that statement? We all know of “Repair Shops” operating without proper licenses without certified technicians, without proper insurance but where is the enforcement? Does turning a blind eye to these violations of the law help out the legitimate technicians and shop owners? I don’t think so. But how can we bring about the necessary changes? Maybe a true shop owner and technician’s association with enough strength and political clout is what’s needed. Maybe an association-funded mass media shot across the nation’s bow will bring change. I don’t know for sure. I do know that I am tired of being treated like a second-class citizen. How about you?

Phone: 416-233-7552

History: Located on the site of a nineteenth century blacksmith shop, Lambton Park Auto in Toronto is a three-bay, fully-equipped garage that has been family owned and operated since 1952. Lambton Park Auto is A.S.E. Blue Seal of Excellence certified, an Ontario’s Drive Clean program certified repair shop and Provincial Motor Vehicle Inspection Station.

Location: 24 Earlington Ave., Toronto, Ontario M8X 2N5

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