|1. What is the Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario (CISCO), accreditation and self-management?
For a number of years the collision repair industry have talked about the need for greater regulation to:
(1) Improve marketplace standards
(2) Ensure safe and quality repairs
(3) Create a fair and level playing field through compliance to uniform standards for the industry and consumers
(4) Enhance consumer confidence and protection
(5) Ensure that all repair facilities comply with the laws that regulate the industry
As a result of the efforts of many industry representatives, government and insurance industry support for a collision industry accreditation and self-management program has been received.
The Collision Industry Standards Council (CISCO) comprises of representatives from industry trade associations representing repair shop owners across Ontario, as well as representatives from government and the insurance industry that have worked to develop industry accreditation standards and code of ethics. CISCO is a non-profit corporation that will run the accreditation and self-management program.
2. Does the government support the work of CISCO?
YES. The government has indicated it will pass legislation to require all collision repair facilities to be accredited and delegate management of the program to CISCO.
3. Does the Insurance Industry support CISCO?
YES. The Insurance Bureau of Canada supports accreditation, and has provided representatives and financial support to the development of CISCO.
I.B.C. representatives will be part of the CISCO Board.
4. Is CISCO a Trade Association?
NO. The Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario is an Administrative Authority consisting of representatives from known active trade associations across the province. It has been established to accredit collision repair facilities.
The establishment of a provincial trade association is planned. It will be known as the Collision Operators of Ontario (COO)
5. Do I have to belong to a Trade Association to become a member of CISCO?
NO. The Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario accreditation program is for all collision repair facilities in Ontario. A CISCO member can choose to be a member of a trade association in their area, but this will have no bearing on the accreditation of their collision repair facility.
6. How were the standards developed?
The CISCO committee reviewed existing standards and models from Canada and the U.S.A. The committee reviewed these standards with their association members.
A draft of the standards adapted by the committee was sent out to over 3,000 industry members for review. Town Hall meetings were conducted across the province.
The CISCO committee did not create new regulations. The accreditation standards reflect existing laws and regulation. The equipment standards were accepted by a vast majority of those who participated in the consultation process as the minimum requirements to complete safe and quality repairs.
7. How much will the CISCO program cost?
The annual accreditation fee will be as follows:
By employees incl. Contract workers Fee
10-20 (over) $900
The annual fee will be used for the list below:
(1) Validating criteria for facility accreditation (including inspections)
(2) On-going administration of the CISCO program which includes:
---(a) Assisting shops to meet accreditation criteria
---(b) Inspections & Enforcement programs to ensure on-going compliance
---(c) Dispute resolution
---(d) Communications to the industry
---(e) Industry education and training
---(f) Consumer education
---(g) Compensation Fun
8. What is the accreditation and why must it be mandatory?
Accreditation is the process of ensuring that collision repair facilities have the equipment and personnel necessary to make safe and quality collision repairs. It is also an ongoing process to ensure that collision repair facilities comply with the standards, code of ethics, and Consumer Bill of Rights.
It must be mandatory to ensure that all facilities play by the same rules and to ensure that there is a uniform level of consumer protection across Ontario.
9. What if I am accredited by another Accreditation Program, or have a municipal license?
If you are accredited or licensed by a municipality you still must be accredited by CISCO to comply with the new Collision Repair Act.
To become accredited by CISCO you must still apply to the CISCO program (and pay the application fee), and you must meet all criteria related to application processing and site inspections.
10. What if I can't comply with the CISCO Accreditation Standards?
The CISCO committee did not create new regulations. The accreditation standards reflect existing laws and regulations. The equipment standards were accepted by a vast majority of those who participated in the consultation process as the minimum requirements to complete safe and quality repairs.
It is an objective of the Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario to assist industry members in meeting accreditation criteria. As the CISCO administration validates criteria for accreditation, it will advise facility owners how to become compliant to the standards.
11. What happens if I refuse to apply or operate without a license?
To operate an auto collision, auto body, auto body and refinishing or auto refinishing facilities in Ontario the repair facility must be accredited by CISCO. Shops that refuse to apply or attempt to operate without a license from CISCO may be fined and the owners may be fined and/or imprisoned.
12. How will CISCO enforce compliance?
CISCO will use the initial application forms and a series of inspections to ensure initial compliance.
CISCO will then undertake a series of random inspections to ensure continued compliance and quality of repairs. CISCO will also respond to complaints from consumers and from within the industry.
13. How will CISCO deal with unethical operations of facilities that don't comply with program?
The new Collision Repair Act will require all facilities to be accredited and comply with the program. The Act will provide that every facility owner or officer who operates without an accreditation license is guilty of an office and, on conviction, is liable to a fine of $25,000.00 if a person, or up to $100,000.00 if a corporation, or imprisonment for up to one year, or both.
14. How will CISCO discipline a shop that fails to comply?
A formal complaints and discipline process will be established. CISCO will investigate complaints or matters of non-compliance. If a facility is found not to comply it will be required to comply and be subject to penalties and possible license suspensions for varying periods of time.
15. Can shops appeal if CISCO decides to not accredit them?
YES. Shops can appeal to the Commercial Registration Appeals Tribunal.
16. Why is accreditation good for consumers?
It will ensure that all collision repair facilities provide safe and quality repairs.
It will ensure that all facilities comply with fair business practices and a Consumer Bill of Rights that provide uniform warranties. Consumers will be protected from fly-by-night operations. Consumers' right to choose a collision repair facility will be protected.
17. Do consumers get new rights?
YES. Under the new code of Ethics and Consumers' Bill of rights, consumers will get new rights to safe, quality repairs that will be protected by warranties.
Consumers will get new rights to complain about collision repair facility work and business practices.
18. What are consumer rights if they disagree with the quality of repair work done?
First, they should attempt to resolve the matter with the facility, involving their insurance agent or broker. If this fails, CISCO will attempt to mediate a satisfactory resolution.
If a mediated resolution cannot be obtained, the consumer can lay a complaint and, where appropriate, CISCO can order restitution.
19. When will restitution be ordered?
Where CISCO determines that safe and quality repairs have not been made at the usually accepted industry level, it will order remedial work or restitution as appropriate in the individual circumstance.
20. Will OEM parts be required for use in all vehicle repairs?
Collision repair shops will use the parts that have been specified by the consumer or their insurance policy.
21. Will accreditation increase auto premiums?
Accreditation should not increase auto premiums. Accreditation may provide for a reduction in premiums as the safety and quality of repairs increase.
The accreditation program may also reduce the need for individual insurance companies "re-inspection programs".
22. Will accreditation put small repair shops out of business?
Accreditation will not put any repair shops out of business that meet the minimum requirements for collision repair equipment and personnel that are necessary to complete safe and quality repairs.
CISCO has not created any new laws. It will simply require all facilities to comply with existing provincial legislation and the CISCO Consumer Bill of Rights.
The CISCO program will come into effect in two steps. During Phase 1, facilities will be inspected and will be notified of any items that are required to become accredited. There will be a period of perhaps up to six months for facilities to become compliant before Phase 2 enforcement comes into effect.
23. Why does a small shop have to meet the same standards as a large facility?
Small shops have to meet the minimum equipment and other standards that are necessary to provide safe and quality repairs. Shops without this equipment put consumers at risk
24. When will facilities need more than one license?
Facilities will need a CISCO accreditation license and will have to comply with other applicable laws like a business registration number, sales tax, GST, etc.
Facilities will also require a municipal business license where required. However, municipal accreditation programs will no longer be required when the CISCO program is operational.
25. How will CISCO help facilities to meet the standards?
CISCO inspectors will advise facilities about any compliance issues and offer assistance to shop owners to meet the standards by advising them of industry accepted equipment and standards as appropriate.
26. How will accident scene solicitation be stopped?
CISCO will investigate complaints from consumers and the industry, and levy fines and other penalties as necessary.
27. Will accreditation put an end to preferred shops?
The CISCO program cannot put an end to preferred shops. The Competition Bureau has ruled that directing consumers to preferred auto body repair shops has not substantially lessened competition.
However, the CISCO program will ensure that all repairs are safe and of high quality.
CISCO will also ensure that consumers are aware of their right to choose any accredited facility and will work with the insurance industry to ensure this right is protected.
28. Who administers the CISCO program?
The Collision Industry Standards Council of Ontario Board of Directors has been established. The trade associations on the steering committee elected the initial board members.
This administrative authority will be responsible for setting accreditation standards; inspections and enforcement; a consumer and industry complaint process; education and training and other industry related matters.
29. When will accreditation be introduced?
The collision repair industry hopes that the Collision Repair Act will be passed early in the year 2000 and that the program will be fully operational by the fall of 2000.
30. How can shops provide input to shape the program?
The CISCO program is being developed by representatives of local Collision Repair Associations from across Ontario.
A series of Town Hall meetings have already been held.
31. How do I get accredited and how will the Accreditation Standards and Code of Ethics be enforced?
The first step is the confirmation of:
(1) Business Identification
(2) Employee Identification
(3) Compliance with existing Federal, Provincial and Local regulations
(4) Compliance to collision repair and auto refinishing equipment standards
This is done through the application process.
The next step requires and agent of CISCO to inspect the facility to validate compliance to the 'accreditation standards'
The facility must meet compliance criteria at both stages before it can become accredited. To ensure on-going compliance, CISCO will, periodically re-inspect "Accredited" facilities to ensure they are still compliant to 'accreditation standards and code of ethics'. CISCO may also revisit a facility as part of the complaint mediation process.
On an annual basis, facilities will be required to submit a renewal application to reaffirm compliance information.
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