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Right to Repair Requires
Right Choices

By May 2010 independent repair and service facilities will gain ACCESS to repair, tooling and training inform ation that automotive manufacturers agreed to share voluntarily under the Canadian Automotive Service Inform ation Standard (CASIS ) agreement, announced by federal Industry Minister Tony Clement on Septemb er 29, 2009.

Any new technology can be learned with a shop manual. What’s missing from those manuals though, is the diagnostic technique. It’s the knowledge of the approaches and methods that
is needed. Industry stakeholder Montreal round table discussions Montreal, QC.

And then there’s the management side of things: how do I recognize who needs training, when to send them, how to schedule for that, how to budget for that, how to learn how to determine who
needs what training and how to apply for that training? Employer round table discussion, Halifax, Sept 2009.

Round table focus groups of industry stakeholders, employers and employees were held in various parts of Canada to validate findings of the 2009 CARS labour market update surveys

During the 2009 CARS labour market update study, 48% of aftermarket employers surveyed said lack of access to proprietary tools, training, as well as diagnostic and repair information, hampered their business growth. Gaining wider access will present tremendous opportunities and challenges for independent shops, particularly in the collision repair industry, which often encounter the latest models before they come off warranty.

Freer access to tools, training and information under CASIS, does not automatically ensure greater profitability.

Increased availability of information and tools will add to the pressure on shop owners to make informed decisions when it comes to purchases, staffing and training as more variables come into play:

Rising costs

Businesses will need to be more strategic about where and when to invest in equipment, given the rising costs and wide range of equipment needed to work on the full range of makes and models.

Economic climate

Often, consumers tend to forego minor aesthetic fixes of dents and scrapes during a recession.

Staff shortages

63% of employers surveyed expect to have some or considerable difficulty hiring body and collision damage repair technicians in the future.

Skills gaps

Industry employers and employees identified the following as the top technology areas in which skills training is needed over the next three years.

Employers and employees in the autobody and collision repair industry indicated the key skills development needs over the next three years will be concerning light weight and new materials, frame and metal construction, as well as paint.

There are many important factors for shop owners to consider before investing in technology, equipment and training to keep up with technological advances. Can you afford the equipment? If you get the equipment, do you have the staff that is trained to use it? If not, what will the training cost you? Will expected returns recoup the investment?

What it comes down to is that a rapidly evolving industry that offers more choices and opportunities also requires more planning.

The CARS 2009 labour market update clearly showed that even in tight economic times, shops with business plans flourish. Fifty per cent of businesses that had human resource plans, that provided for staffing and training, had revenues over $1 million in 2008, compared to 26 percent of those without plans.

For more information on the CARS labour market update, look for the PERFORMANCE driven summary report at

Much, much more in the print addition of Auto Atlantic.
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