In a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) president Marc Brazeau urged Queen’s Park for greater transparency and accessibility for the independent service and repair industry in Ontario.
Because today’s cars are so sophisticated, repairing them requires computer software accompanied by specialized electronic tools and training. These technological changes have allowed sixty percent of car companies that sell vehicles in Canada the right to refuse to make repair software, tools, and training commercially available to the independent service and repair industry.
“AIA has over the last two years provided strong evidence to the federal government regarding the need to ensure that these tools and technology are made available to our service and repair members,” says Bryant.
The real threat here is with newer vehicles entering the marketplace, many independents will be forced out of business because they don’t have the training or access to information they need to survive. This is especially true in small communities where consumers only have access to a handful (or in some cases one) service centre. With the potential to cripple thousands of services centres province-wide, the loss on Ontario productivity will result in the elimination of consumer choice as well as an increased pressure on the supply side of the service and repair industry.
In 2006, employment in the aftermarket industry reached 410,700, representing 44.8% of the entire automotive industry. While total Canadian aftermarket retail sales reached $16.7 billion, Ontario businesses contributed $6.1 billion to that total. In addition, according to Statistics Canada figures for 2006, Ontario sits on top of motor vehicle repair shop counts with 7,869, or one third of the national level.
“Government support of the whole auto industry, not just the manufacturing, is of vital interest to these Ontario businesses.”