Auto Service World
News   October 25, 2017   by Allan Janssen

‘Fake safety’ case an object lesson for Ontario shops

Ontario Ministry of Transportation officer warns repair shop owners not to do what convicted technician Joe Ramono did.

MTO enforcement officer Rob Stickan offers insights to a room full of repair shop owners at a symposium of the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario.

The story of the Ontario technician who was found guilty of issuing a fake safety certificate for a vehicle that was involved in a deadly crash, is being used as an object lesson by Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO).

Speaking at a symposium organized by the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) on Saturday, MTO enforcement officer Rob Stickan said there were important lessons to be learned from the case of Joe Ramono.

Ramono stood trial this summer for criminal negligence causing death and issuing a forged document. He was found not guilty on the criminal negligence charge but was found guilty of issuing a fake safety. He is expected to be sentenced in a Peterborough court Oct. 26.

Stickan went over the facts of the case, which stemmed from a 2012 crash that took the life of a 27-year-old woman, Abigail MacNaughton.

He explained the facts of the case as the jury heard them, and told of a subsequent MTO investigation which resulted in 31 ministry charges against Ramono and his business, Pro Street Auto Sales and Service in Stouffville, Ont.

“As part of the investigation, I did look over some of the vehicles that he certified,” Stickan said. “We found that he had made false statements in issuing safety standard certificates. We got some statements from vehicle owners who acknowledged that they just went to a coffee shop and laid down $100 for a safety certificate.”

As a result of the investigation, Ramono’s career as a safety inspector is over.

“The ministry launched a revocation process. They were saying, ‘We want you out of our program,’” Stickan said.

Ultimately, the revocation process was unnecessary because the terms of Ramono’s bail prohibited him from issuing safety certificates, and during the course of the criminal trial, Ramono did not renew his license.

“So he essentially self-revoked,” Stickan said.

“Let that be a lesson learned,” he told the room full of Ontario repair shop owners. “A lot of us have been asked, ‘How about letting that item slide’ or been asked to turn a blind eye to something, or do a favor for someone. But keep this in the back of your mind, that if you did let an item slide or turn a blind eye to something, that car is out on the same roads that your family is travelling on. Abigail could have been your daughter.”

There are 13,000 inspection stations in Ontario. More than 30,000 Ontario technicians are registered as inspectors in the program.

See related story:

SPECIAL REPORT: Technician on trial


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8 Comments » for ‘Fake safety’ case an object lesson for Ontario shops
  1. Randy Haugen says:

    This guy was no doubt guilty of signing fake inspections, it would be interesting to know what was the cause of the accident. We all are well aware of the “death wobble” of the dodge 4×4 front ends even when all the components are with in spec, or was the cause a broken worn out ball joint or a number of other things that would have condemned the truck if it had had a proper inspection.

  2. Savas Daghinis says:

    As a technician for 40 years in the business I think it is wrong to be expecting that safety certificate issued would solve all the problems on any old vehicle.
    It is the duty of the responsibility of the driver and or owner of the vehicle to make sure that the vessel is roadworthy.
    Let’s keep in mind that the vehicle is only certified at the Point of Sale, it is just left to the sole discretion of the owner or driver to maintain it for however many years they own it.
    I believe that the responsibility is more on the owner operator of the vehicle.

    PS there is many places in North America that a safety certificate is not required
    how a vehicle become fit on the road them??????
    This is my personal opinion
    Master technician

    • Bob Moynes says:

      You are truly a MASTER TECH. the person who got this certificate is as responsible as as the tech that did it. But and it’s a big one, the ones that tax small businesses to death and the tech’s that cheat to pay their taxes are also a party to this. I have had flex hoses bent 270 degrees,brake line beaten with a hammer and pads rotors and calipers replaced the were less than a year old and measured over 80%.

  3. Lise says:

    Do any of you know what the statue of limitations is for the MTO in Ontario to lay a charge on a garage for writing a fake safety? Is it within six months of the infraction meaning, the date the safety was written on or anytime after a complaint is made as long as the complaint is made within six months of the safety being written?

  4. Bob Moynes says:

    The slip is good for thirty six days end of story.
    this one was at thirty days, if it was that bad and you knew how you got it, why did you not check. Even worse did her father,husband, or friend do it with or without her knowledge.

  5. Anthony says:

    When a vehicle is inspected and certified in ontario ,its for that day, yes the certificate is good for 36 days, we can not determine if a part will fail after a safety , even a brand new car can have a safety failure when the Kim’s are less than a 100km..I’ve seen it with my own eyes as a lisenced tech for 30 years of wich I spent 20 years at new car dealer. We do our best but we do not have xray vision. I’ve seen tie rods in perfect shape then next day its failed even on a brand new part..sometimes things are covered up like a hole in the frame with undercoating we can see these things its literally impossible just have to inspect and use common sense

  6. Rejean Girard says:

    Well I purchased a motor home got a reputable mechanic previously owned a truck and trailer mechanic shop he agreed to do a fitness on my Rv now he requested money so i gave him 1000.00 dollars for anything to repair the Rv a week when by I ask if he had checked the Rv because I’d like to change it over to my name and put Insurance because I’ve got a big investment so he issued a certification and i than went to service ont had switch over to my name and sent copies of ownership to my insurance company now he told me that one headlight needed attention and that drivers side tire needs to be replaced so he replied that its on order so I waited finely he told me the tire was 350$ and i said that it was a lot of money that on line they sell for 150$ he told me to come get my Rv and buy my own tires so agree and when i started the Rv dash light come on abs and brake lights stayed so i told him he replied they would go out in time so now I’m scared that maybe he didn’t do a properly fitness so what do i do now

  7. Rejean Girard says:

    Ok I’ll pay again in timmins because I’ve got my family with me and it’s a large vehicle so I’m not taking any chances i don’t own the hiway so for someone else safety I’ll spend money for a second opinion not going to wait for accidents to complain or some one dies than it to late fitness was done September 10 2022

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