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Proposed Car Registration Bill would be a Game Changer

Wheels.ca logo Wheels.ca 2018-11-21 Susan Gubasta
Proposed Car Registration Bill 50© Susan Gubasta Proposed Car Registration Bill 50

Most facets of operating a new car dealership in 2018 are digital in nature, everything from researching vehicle inventory and submitting credit applications to booking service appointments and diagnosing engine problems.

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Unfortunately, one area that has not kept pace with the digital revolution is the registering of vehicles. This process still requires dealers to send a driver to a licensing office, wait in line, and then drive back to the dealership (or drop off paperwork and return later). This costly and time-consuming process has been around for decades.

The good news for dealers and consumers is that a more efficient system could soon become a reality. On Oct. 30, Mike Harris, the PC MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga, introduced the Cutting Red Tape for Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2018 (Bill 50) in the Ontario Legislature. The second reading of Bill 50 is scheduled for Nov. 22, 2018.

This bill would be a game changer for Ontario’s auto retail sector. The bill amends the Highway Traffic Act and would allow certain motor vehicle dealers in Ontario to apply for permits, plates, sticker validations and used vehicle information packages online for their own sales/deliveries. “Moving this process online will make motor vehicle dealerships one stop shops, saving dealers and customers time and money,” Harris said.

A similar bill almost saw the light of day three years ago. Then, Leeds-Grenville MPP (and the current Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing), Steve Clark, introduced Bill 152. Even though Bill 152 received all-party support at second reading debate, it did not survive that session of Parliament.

The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA) strongly supports Bill 50 — dealerships have been asking for this service for decades. The TADA’s director of government relations, Frank Notte, has said: “If passed, Bill 50 will bring Ontario’s auto retail sector into the 21st century and have Ontario join other provinces and many U.S. states that allow auto dealers to electronically register the vehicles they sell and lease.”

Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador and P.E.I. already allow dealerships to provide some of the services outlined in Bill 50. It’s time Ontario joined those provinces and allowed dealers the option of registering vehicles and issuing licence plates at their dealership, without having to visit a licensing office.

If Bill 50 becomes law in Ontario, it would save dealerships time and money in having to go to a licensing office to register vehicles, and it would avoid unnecessary delays when customers take delivery of their vehicles.

By being permitted to do this online as Bill 50 proposes, dealers would be taking pressure off Service Ontario, so the general public could have better access for services like their driver’s license and health card renewals. It would also lessen wait times for the vehicle buyers to get their purchased vehicle on the road

Bill 50 would not create Service Ontario Centres in every dealership, nor would it be available for the general public to access. It would allow dealers to register and license the vehicles they sell or lease only.

The TADA’s support for Bill 50 is not a reflection on Service Ontario staff. They are professional and they understand our industry’s needs. However, many times they simply cannot meet the demand for the high number of vehicle sale transactions, since we are competing for their time with the general public.

Bill 50 is an important initiative that supports Ontario’s auto sector. It would help Ontario’s 1,000 new car dealers save time and money, and give them the tools needed to provide a more convenient customer service experience so customers can take possession of their newly purchased vehicle minutes after signing on the dotted line.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Bill 50© Provided by Toronto Star Newspapers Limited Bill 50

Mike Harris Jr.

This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Susan Gubasta is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is president/CEO of Mississauga Toyota. For information about automotive trends and careers, visit carsandjobs.com.

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