Mechanics and used car dealers may be up in arms, but Ontario’s overhaul of its safety certificate program is long overdue
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, goes the saying. But what if it is well and truly broken, and there are still voices not keen on fixing it?
That’s the upshot of the Ontario government’s recent introduction of changes to the automobile safety certificate program. You know safeties: those things a used car seller could hand to a buyer pretending it meant the car had passed some rigorous checklist, when in actuality, the list itself is dated and vague; it contains omissions big enough to drive a truck through. For curbsiders and other less-than-stellar types, you could usually find someone to supply a safety sight unseen for a hundred bucks if you knew which shade to look under….
The bigger issue for industry watchdog George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association is what the SSC isn’t: it isn’t a warranty. “Consumers will continue to confuse the inspection with a warranty,” he says. He would have liked to see several things that this long-awaited update didn’t deliver: real-time centralized record keeping, more transparency in the process and an inspection that goes beyond a visual one. He notes the original plans included an electronic barcoded record, which got lost along the way. He hopes the upgrade will continue to be evolutionary to be more effective to consumers.