Organizers and supporters of the new “Repair It Right” program issued a rallying cry for industry unity on Tuesday night.
About 35 people – representing provincial and national associations, parts distributors, manufacturers, repair chains, and industry trade publications – were asked to spread the word about a new way to ensure that independent auto repair shops have access to OE service information, tools, training, telematics data, and security protocols.
Repair It Right is the proposed new slogan for what was once referred to as the Right To Repair – a name that has been adopted by a number of tech industries calling for open access to repair information.
Requests for Service Information can now be made at
Tuesday’s meeting in Mississauga was essentially a coming out party for the program, developed over the past year by the Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) in response to what it saw as a lack of progress on the issue by the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS).
In a dramatic split with the National Automotive Trades Association (NATA), AARO proposed abandoning the Canadian agreement, which it called toothless and outdated, in favour of working with the U.S.-based National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF).
Since its departure from NATA, AARO has developed working ties with NASTF, and launched Repair It Right as an improved way to request blocked service information, obtain training and industry information, and gain vehicle security professional (VSP) credentials.
All that’s left, they say, is to let aftermarket professionals across the country know that it’s available to them. The industry is urged to check out the details at the AARO website.
Diane Freeman, executive director of AARO, said the evening was to get the entire industry on the same page.
“We’ve been talking to other associations and groups across the country,” she said. “We’ve invited them here to make it clear what message we need to get out to repair professionals.”
She described the event as a kind of update for the industry.
“The industry needs to know what we’ve been up to, what’s available to them, and how they can get involved. We want everyone onboard.”
Toronto shop owner John Cochrane.
Toronto shop owner John Cochrane, who got the ball rolling last year, said it had become clear to many in the industry that the Canadian solution simply wasn’t going to provide what the aftermarket needed.
“CASIS never got fully developed,” he said. “It was controlled by a very small group of people, and it was not moving forward. This is important stuff for our industry. We need it to move forward.”
He said Repair It Right addresses the two big gaps that repair professionals face: information access, and vehicle security codes.
“I hope this is the embryo of something really big,” he said. “And it will be big if everyone in the industry has a same passion to find a solution.
Industry consultant Bob Greenwood.
The evening started with a fiery speech from business consultant Bob Greenwood, who said the industry’s future depends on its learning how to cooperate and act in lock-step.
“The Canadian aftermarket is in a crisis. It is a crisis we are not talking about. It is a crisis of information. It’s a crisis of collaboration. And we had better sort it out fast,” he said. “We’re all in this together. Let’s sit around the same table and start talking about how we’re going to solve these problems together.”
J.F. Champagne, president of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada, said he hasn’t given up on CASIS, but he is open to the idea of finding other ways to achieve the same solution.
“We’re still at the CASIS table,” he said. “The bottom line is we need to find the right solution that helps people fix cars. Perhaps there is some kind of partnership with NASTF that might be workable. Nothing is mutually exclusive here. We can work through CASIS, through NASTF, through AARO, through AIA. We leave our options open.”
Repair It Right is run by a Canadian task force of 16 people from four provinces, all but four of whom are licensed automotive service technicians.
Members of the Canadian task force are:
Mike Adema (Georgetown),
Eric Mileham (Orangeville),
John Cochrane (Toronto),
Ju Chen (Toronto),
Mark Lemay (Barrie),
Roydon Rump (Ottawa),
Luanne Fedosoff, AARO,
Diane Freeman, AARO,
Steve Gushie, Carquest Canada,
David Cochrane, Delphi,
Sean Hill (Saskatchewan),
Girard Benoit (Montreal),
Tamara Ghosn (Ottawa),
Corey Grant (Nova Scotia),
Niall Black, Motorcade,
Mark Ascott, Barrie and Area Auto Repair Association (BAARA)