The Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council licenses and regulates motor vehicle dealers in Ontario and administers the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of the Minister of Consumer Services. Their goal is to maintain a fair, safe and informed marketplace by ensuring the registration of dealers and salespeople, inspecting dealerships, maintaining a complaint line for consumers, conducting investigations and enforcing the Act and its associated rules and regulations. Registration with OMVIC is mandatory for Ontario’s motor vehicle dealers and salespersons in Hamilton and the rest of the province.
OMVIC was created on January 7th, 1997 – the first regulated business sector to move to self-management. A new MVDA became law in Ontario on January 1st, 2010, bringing numerous changes to how vehicle dealers are required to operate. What once was “a grey area” is now regulated by means of clear requirements for advertising, pricing, vehicle disclosure, contracts and consumer remedies.
OMVIC’s objectives are very clear:
- Consumer protection (pursuit of those who would prey on an unwary public),
- Increased consumer confidence (compliance activities and complaint handling),
- Consumer awareness (dissemination of information concerning consumer rights via public information and awareness programs),
- Dealer professionalism (certification programs for new dealers and salespersons),
- Increased accountability (administration of a Code of Ethics, Standards of Business Practice and an open disciplinary process).
Moreover, OMVIC is structured around 4 areas of service with the aim of protecting the public interest:
1) Registration for the OMVIC license
The registration process includes a careful screening of all applicants. To be registered, all applicants must meet the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requirements. Registrations are valid for a limited time, and renewals are conditional on registrants for the OMVIC license having operated with honesty, integrity, financial responsibility and in accordance with the law.
Applicants must undergo a thorough screening process before being granted an OMVIC license. This process involves background checks, criminal record checks, and financial assessments. This ensures the applicant meets the requirements for OMVIC registration and receiving an OMVIC license.
Once registered, OMVIC license holders must continue to operate with honesty, integrity, and financial responsibility. OMVIC may revoke or refuse to renew the OMVIC license if a registrant is found to have violated any provisions of the MVDA or has otherwise engaged in fraudulent or deceptive business practices.
Registrants should know that their OMVIC license is valid for a limited time. This is usually two years, after which they must apply for a license renewal. Renewals are conditional upon registrants meeting the ongoing requirements for the license, as detailed above, and continuing to operate their businesses ethically and lawfully.
2) OMVIC License – Inspections, investigations and prosecutions
Inspections are conducted to examine business locations and to verify that books and records are properly maintained. Investigations are launched when non-compliance is suspected, and prosecutions may occur.
OMVIC takes its role as a regulator seriously and is committed to ensuring that motor vehicle dealers in Ontario operate fairly and transparently. As such, the agency conducts regular inspections to verify that registered dealers with OMVIC licenses comply with the law and regulations.
During inspections, OMVIC representatives may visit a dealership to examine business operations and ensure that all books and records are properly maintained. This includes examining sales and service records, advertising materials, and customer complaints, among other things. Inspectors may also interview staff members and review the dealer’s financial records to ensure that the business is being operated with honesty and integrity.
When non-compliance is suspected, OMVIC may launch an investigation to gather further evidence. Investigations may include site visits, interviews, and the collection of additional documentation. If a dealer is found to have violated the law or regulations, OMVIC may pursue prosecution, which could result in fines, penalties, or even the revocation of the dealer’s license.
Overall, OMVIC’s inspection and investigation processes help to ensure that motor vehicle dealers in Ontario operate fairly and transparently, which protects consumers and promotes a level playing field for all industry participants.
3) Complaint handling for OMVIC license holders
OMVIC handles disputes between consumers and dealers or between dealers themselves. The goal is to assist the parties involved in achieving a negotiated solution to avoid recourse to the courts.
4) Public awareness and professional standards
OMVIC promotes dealer education programs as a means of enhancing professionalism in the motor vehicle industry. In addition, OMVIC fosters public awareness and understanding of consumers’ rights and responsibilities.
For you as the buyer, OMVIC and the relevant laws in Canada and Ontario have ensured that you have basic rights that they protect:
1) All-In-Pricing in ads
Dealerships cannot make a vehicle that they advertise seem cheaper by failing to mention any other fees they charge aside from taxes. Also, the ads must mention if the vehicle was used as a daily rental, police cruiser, used to provide emergency services or used as a taxi or limousine.
2) Full disclosure
Dealerships must provide the buyer with all the information about the vehicle’s history and condition. If you are buying a used vehicle, ask for or purchase a history report, CarProof and Collision Records and demand the car to be inspected by your trusted mechanic.
3) Cancellation rights
Buyers can cancel a purchasing contract within 90 days if the dealership does not fully disclose information on the vehicle. Not only that, but you can do the same if any information is inaccurate:
- Make, model and year,
- Odometer reading (or a statement that distance travelled is not available),
- Whether the vehicle has been “branded” by the Ministry of Transportation as salvage, rebuilt or irreparable,
- Accurate details of past use (e.g., if the vehicle was used as a taxi, limousine, rental car, police or emergency vehicle).
4) Compensation fund
Buyers who lose money due to a trade with a registered OMVIC dealer have access to the Compensation Fund and financial assistance provided they have a valid claim for a vehicle transaction against an OMVIC-registered dealer. Consumers who are eligible for compensation may qualify for up to $45,000 per vehicle transaction. To qualify, they must meet one or more of the eligibility criteria, with the claim being submitted within 2 years.
CRS Automotive Hamilton, with premium used cars sales office in Cambridge, is an OMVIC-certified dealer whose salespersons are there to help customers find the right used luxury vehicle. We will assist, but never be pushy because we value our customers. Come and see for yourself – we expect you at our Cambridge, ON, location!
We are located only 7 min driving West of The Centre on Barton Shopping Mall and 11 min South East of Hamilton General Hospital.
Since 2005, we have built a reputation for delivering exceptional automotive repair services and outstanding customer care.
Our commitment to excellence and dedication to our clients have made us a trusted name in automotive care.
Our team of licensed technicians is experienced in working on all makes and models, including electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids.
Our comprehensive range of services ensures that your vehicle remains in top condition, covering all aspects of automotive repair and maintenance.
When you choose CRS Automotive, you’re choosing a team that genuinely cares about you and your vehicle.