The committee that started the movement is led by Dana Alexander of Dana’s Collision in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Alexander told bodyshopbiz.com that the move to make auto body repair a licensed trade in the province has been attempted several times before, but has been delayed by changes in provincial leadership, “which basically sends the process back to square one.”
In 2005, Alexander and the group conducted a survey amongst body shops in New Brunswick to see how the province felt about enforcing licensing. The results were promising, showing a 70 percent acceptance rate. Since the responses are outdated by 10 years, the province feels a second survey is necessary. The committee is currently preparing an updated version that will be sent out to New Brunswick shops in the next month or so, reported bodyshopbiz.com.
Alexander explained to bodyshopbiz.com that because cars are so much more technologically advanced, allowing anyone to do conduct repairs is dangerous and a huge liability issue for the shop and the insurer.
The collision repair industry in Canada is in need of technicians, so requiring a license and schooling would give young people incentive to get involved and make a career out of it.
The committee is also proposing a grandfathering provision, whereby experienced technicians who have been working for five or more years (9,000 or more hours) can undergo a skills-testing exam instead of a written test, and upon successful completion can earn certification without undergoing further in-class training, reported bodyshopbiz.com.
The bilingual survey will be sent out in late February or early March. Hard copies will be sent to approximately 250 body shops across the province, as well as apprentices who have received training in the last few years. Alexander expects the survey to be open for approximately two months and to have the results tabulated by late spring, reported bodyshopbiz.com.