It’s been my good fortune and privilege to serve as the president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association (TADA), and its 1,100 member dealers, during a robust and exciting period for the automobile industry in Canada.
Not only are Canadian auto sales on track for a fourth consecutive record in 2016, but our industry is in the midst of extraordinary changes and innovations, as automakers, consumers and governments rethink the very concept of transportation.
Almost every week, we’re learning about new advancements in automotive safety features, motive power systems, autonomous vehicles and mobile technology.
Here are some of the highlights from 2016:
- On Jan. 1, 2016, the Ontario government launched a pilot project (a first in Canada) that allows autonomous vehicles (AVs) to be tested on Ontario roads. The program — which allows AVs to operate under controlled environments — will help the companies and institutions that are involved in the connected and automated vehicle industry.
- The 2016 Canadian International AutoShow in Toronto, presented by the Toronto Star and wheels.ca, was a huge success with participating manufacturers, exhibitors, and partners. The show set an attendance record of 320,651, which speaks to the outstanding lineup of vehicles, accessories, exhibits and prizes.
- For more than a decade, the TADA has advocated for the elimination of the controversial Ontario Drive Clean program. Ontario’s new car dealers, the TADA, consumer advocate groups, auto technicians and consumers generally agree that Drive Clean is a flawed program and an unnecessary tax on motorists.
Our association was delighted to learn in February that Ontario (starting in 2017) will scrap the $30 fee for mandatory emissions tests on light-duty vehicles. This measure was made to reduce the surplus Drive Clean has accumulated over the last few years.
- The TADA continues to work closely with its post-secondary school partners in promoting education and awareness about careers within the retail automobile industry. In 2016, the TADA provided more than $150,000 in scholarships, bursaries and post-secondary education for students who are pursuing careers in the automotive sector.
The TADA’s website — carsandjobs.com — continues to be an important resource for students who want to learn about automotive careers, and for dealers who want to recruit qualified people to fill available positions.
- In June 2016, the Ontario government took a step toward achieving emissions reduction targets with the release of its Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP).
Part of the CCAP is focused on the transportation sector, which is responsible for 35 per cent of Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, the CCAP aims for Ontario to become a leader in low-carbon and zero-emission transportation.
- The TADA is continuously advocating for issues that are important to dealers and consumers. In November, Ontario drivers scored a major victory, as legislation introduced at Queen’s Park will not grant municipalities the authority to charge a municipal Vehicle Registration Tax.
Ontario new car dealers are pleased Minister Bill Mauro has listened to municipal leaders and new car dealers that giving municipalities the authority to tax the family car should not move forward.
It’s a relief to vehicle owners and dealers across Ontario that the government has finally put plans for a car tax in park. Motorists already send about $10 billion every year to the provincial government in licensing fees and taxes.
On behalf of the TADA and its members, I’d like to wish everyone best wishes for a happy holiday season and a Happy New Year, and remember to please drive safely!
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