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Monday December 16

Collision Repair Standards Act Passed by Legislature in Ontario; Industry to be Self-Managed

After almost five hours of debate, complete with adjournments and occasionally hoots and shouted comments on the last sitting night prior to Christmas break, the provincial legislature unanimously approved for third reading into law, the Collision Repair Standards Act, 2002.

The new bill will provide the framework for industry self-management of the collision, auto body, and auto refinishing industry by authorizing an industry advisory board comprised of 10 members (4 from collision repair, 4 members of the public and 2 government representatives) to oversee the introduction of standards for the industry. The Board would then, based on the collision shop's compliance with those standards, recommend to the Minister for the shop to be accredited or not accredited. All shops doing collision work must be accredited and failure to do so can mean fines up to $50,000 or six months imprisonment or both for future offenses.

It is expected that many of the shop standards will follow the CISCO or Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario recommendations, from a brief submitted to the government in February 2000. Those standards largely reflect standards already in use in western Canada.

The bill, which had a number of changes that were inserted by the Standing Committee on Finance, was approved by the legislature as the Finance Committee had recommended. The bill also provides that all shops meet industry standards, consumers can have their vehicle repaired at a shop of their choice, and that both the insurer and car owner must release the vehicle to a repair shop prior to any insurance payment for repair being made.

The legislation also includes a mandatory "Bill of Rights" to be supplied to customers that includes information on the customers' right to safe repair, right to a shop of their choice, an advisory that they do not have to use an insurance company's recommended shop, (although they can if they wish), a required declaration of whether parts used are Original Equipment Manufactured or aftermarket, and a statement from the shop that the repair has been made in accordance with all applicable safety standards.

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