On behalf of the BCAGA I arranged and attended a meeting with the Attorney General, David Eby. The meeting was attended by myself, legal council for the BCAGA, Minister Eby, one of his political staff and on speaker phone was an Assistant Deputy Minister.
On the Agenda for the meeting was:
1) Introduction of BCAGA
3) OEM/NAGS best price policy
4) $54/hr labour rate
Minister Eby was provided with a detailed written document concerning all of the above.
I took the Minister through the document. He read it with interest.
I provided some clarification to the Minister that although the BCAGA is an advocacy organization our goal was not to replace the ARA or undermine the work it was doing, but instead was focused in on the precarious situation independent glass shops presently find themselves in.
Our legal council elaborated on the safety issues including the liability for the province if an improperly installed windshield were to contribute to an accident for example involving a school bus full of children. It was discussed how a broken or incorrectly installed windshield affects the Structural Integrity of the vehicle in the event of an accident. How the windshield acts as a backstop for the passenger airbag and how a broken or incorrectly installed windshield could prevent proper airbag deployment and positioning. He also brought up how there are uncertified techs installing windshields.
ADAS was also part of the safety discussion; how it prevents accidents and reduces the severity of accidents which will reduce injuries, save lives, and save ICBC money in the long run. How the new pricing policies create an inability of shops to afford 30K for the equipment and training. This places a liability on ICBC and Government.
It was discussed that the OEM/NAGS Best price policy makes customers wait to get their windshield replaced and that this is a safety concern and a contravention of the Motor Vehicle Regulations.
I talked about how forcing glass shops to phone dealerships for best pricing was not only causing delays that compromise safety but frustrating staff to the point that they are now quitting. I told him that Glass shops have to call the dealer on every claim because ICBC’s information systems are incomplete, include obsolete parts and cannot be trusted.
I informed him that most dealerships are not properly set up for delivery and that couriers often break the part before it arrives.
I also made him aware that if a customer cancels or does not show up for their appointment, the glass shop is often stuck with the part because it cannot be returned. If returns are accepted by the dealership there is usually a restocking fee.
Discussion concerning the low labour rate also took place. I explained that due to the low labour rate shops have had to rely heavily on part markups to remain viable. I pointed out that there are no other trades in this province that charge a labour rate that is that low and that the cost of doing business in BC is only increasing. (Wages, Rent, New Payroll tax, etc)
Lastly, we discussed Certified Auto Glass Technicians and how many of them are leaving the trade due to rate/wage suppression; how it’s difficult to attract new techs due to rate/wage suppression; and the inability to replace aging technicians when they retire. We pointed out that this is a safety issue.
Minister Eby confirmed that the province is moving ahead with tiering. However, no firm timeline was provided. The Minister stated he would communicate the urgency of the matter to ICBC.
Minister Eby also said that he would get an update on timelines for tiering.
The meeting with Minister Eby was a follow up to the meeting we had on September 11th with ICBC officials.
On behalf of the BCAGA, I requested and attended a meeting at the ICBC headquarters on September 11th. In attendance was myself, one independent glass shop owner, Vito Albanese, Greg Beauregard, and Kevin Walsh.
We talked about anyone doing work for ICBC should be a properly certified auto glass tech and spoke about how in some cases you have technicians signing off on work where the volume and locations made it clear they were simply providing their credential sign off to work being done by non certified glass installers.
We talked about the dysfunctionality of the best price policy and the safety aspect of this. Vito responded that they were working through the glass committee on this matter and allowing the part to come in the same day if there is a safety concern.
During the meeting Vito Albanese often mentioned the work being done with the liaison committee. He agreed that the new system is not as anyone expected and said they are looking to minimize impacts. He also said that the concerns we raised were the same ones they are hearing from the committee.
We discussed ADAS and calibration and they mentioned that ICBC was not the only insurer being challenged by the calibration issue.
We discussed the need to make sure technicians were not only properly trained and licensed but the need to ensure technicians were keeping their ticket current. ICBC responded that they are looking at a redesign of the program.
Vito said that they know things have to change and that they are aware of all the issues we brought up.
Although he agreed our concerns were valid, Vito provided no firm commitment in terms of timelines.