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ONTARIO | REGIONAL NEWS

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ELECTRIFYING CURRICULUM

Students at St. Anne Catholic High School in the Lakeshore region are the first in Canada to receive and utilize a Switch electric vehicle kit. This learning tool allows students to assemble and disassemble a fully-functional three-wheeled vehicle powered by a 96-volt lithium-ion battery. “Everything is open and exposed so that the students can see all of the components,” said Gianni Pizzuto, the automotive teacher at St. Anne. Students in Pizzuto’s automotive class will have a full semester to put the Switch vehicle together and eventually test it out in the school’s parking lot. Once the semester has ended, the vehicle will be taken apart for the next group of students to use the following semester.

Equipped with a 108-hp motor, the Switch is capable of accelerating from zero to 95 km/h in six seconds—although Pizzuto notes that students will not be reaching top speeds when testing out the vehicle. The charge capacity of the vehicle’s battery limits its range to around 65 km as well. EV programming and testing is now a part of Pizzuto’s curriculum, along with basic automotive principles such as braking and steering systems and suspension.

MAKING MILESTONES

Support Ontario Youth (SOY), a government-supported apprenticeship group has announced the registration of 500 apprentices of the skilled trades. The mission of SOY is to streamline the apprenticeship pathway in Ontario by advocating for apprentices and supporting their careers while also providing full support to employers. One of SYO’s aims is to save employers time and money by connecting them with high-quality candidates who can succeed with their companies.

“I can’t believe we are at 500 apprentices. What an awesome accomplishment and such amazing growth. We couldn’t have reached this milestone without the support of our dedicated team, apprentices, mentors, and partners,” said Melanie Winter – Executive Director of Support Ontario Youth. “Their unwavering support has paved the way for countless people to kickstart their careers and has strengthened Ontario’s skilled trades industry as a whole.”

LOGISTICAL LEAKS

In a discreet video taken by a Kia employee during a meeting between a Kia Canada regional manager and Ontario dealer reps, the Korea-based automaker announced plans to withhold year-end vehicle deliveries to dealerships.

As described in the video, the reason for this delay—which affected dealerships in Ontario and possibly dealerships across all of Canada—was reportedly an effort from the automaker to secure marketing funds from Kia headquarters in 2024 by reducing sales numbers.

To do this, vehicles were to be withheld and instead kept on manufacturer compounds in storage rather than delivered to customers. In the video of the meeting, the Kia Canada regional manager said that “with the global slowdown, Kia Canada wants to control wholesale and retail performance in 2023, [and] to not show high overachievement.”

Dealer reps have responded negatively to this plan saying that the move “shows a complete lack of respect for every dealer in Canada and our customers”—many of whom have been waiting for over a year for a vehicle.

Kia dealer reps have been informed to tell customers who complain about the issue that the blame can be placed on “logistical issues” and shipping delays.

PROACTIVE PLAN PROPOSING

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) is releasing its first Auto Insurance Supervision Plan to promote public trust between drivers and insurers.

The plan, which came into effect beginning January 2024, includes three key areas of supervision for auto insurers over 15 months.

These key areas include sale and distribution factors to ensure drivers receive the lowest quote and information is provided to consumers in a clear and timely manner; underwriting factors to eliminate potential discriminatory practices affecting higher-risk customers; and policy servicing factors to ensure claims are processed in a timely, fair and transparent manner as well as to review the number and type of complaints against insurers.

The FSRA will take a risk-based approach to selecting insurers for examination under the newly proposed plan. The implementation of the 2023-2025 Auto Supervision Plan builds on the progress FSRA has made with its multi-year Take-All-Comers Thematic Review to ensure all consumers have fair and timely access to auto insurance.

The FSRA expects insurers to review the plan and other relevant publications to ensure they are complying with the law and other regulatory expectations.

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