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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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3 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
    Savvas

  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?

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