Regional News – Ontario – CRM 19#5

O-AMPED UP

The Ontario government is launching the next round of applications for the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP). An important part of the government’s Driving Prosperity auto plan, the $10-million program provides auto parts companies with funding to invest in new technologies and support innovation in Ontario’s automotive supply chains.The announcement was made on August 18 by Vic Fedeli, minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “Ontario is uniquely positioned to lead the development of the next generation of vehicles when you consider that we have North America’s second-largest IT cluster and are the continent’s number two auto producer,” said Fedeli.

“With more than 250 companies and organizations active in the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies, many of the world’s leading companies are developing the transportation solutions of the future right here in our p r o v i n c e .”The Ontario delegation is showcasing the province’s leadership in areas such as artificial intelligence, sensors and imaging, cybersecurity, data analytics, the Internet of Things and smart infrastructure.

Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) connects the province’s world-leading automotive and technology sectors, high-quality post-secondary institutions, first-class talent and regional infrastructure to support entrepreneurship and create jobs.“Ontario’s auto sector has been front and centre in the fight against COVID-19, with many companies retooling their operations to make emergency supplies. The auto industry, a mainstay of advanced manufacturing and innovation, will continue to be instrumental as we implement our made-in-Ontario plan for renewal, growth and economic recovery,” said Fedeli.

ONTARIO PARTNERSHIP

Roberlo has announced an exclusive partnership agreement with Wilson Air Tools & Equipment Ltd. for the province of Ontario. Wilson Air Tools & Equipment Ltd. is a Canadian owned and operated independent warehouse distributor, servicing the automotive, industrial and woodworking industries.

Wilson Air Tools & Equipment Ltd. will distribute the full range of Roberlo products including Sagola, a spray gun manufacturer and Blucrom, and automotive water-based paint. Roberlo is a member of the Briolf group and a family-run company which specializes in the development, manufacturing and sale of coatings and other repair solutions for the refinish aftermarket and for industrial applications. This agreement will help Roberlo continue its development strategy across Canada.

DEALERSHIP DATA

TRADER Corporation, a digital automotive solutions provider has teamed up with EQ Works to commission a survey examining foot traffic among 750 different Ontario dealerships. The findings of the study confirm a substantial increase in foot traffic between May and June 2020. Walk-in data collected during the study revealed a 56 percent surge in unique visitors and an 81 percent increase in total dealership visits in June.

The tracked Ontario dealerships also experienced a 46 percent increase in one-time visits, while repeat visits grew by 85 percent. This influx of consumer shopping demand is reinforced by a record-breaking month of traffic to the autoTRADER.ca marketplace, which reached a milestone of 22 million visits, after a previous record high in May.

The study also found that both independent and franchise dealerships are benefiting from a sizable lift in consumer engagement. When examining footfall comparatively, the study recorded a 36 percent increase in visits to independent dealerships, while franchise dealerships experienced a staggering 154 percent increase in foot traffic.

TRICKY TICKETS

York Regional Police Officers have been issuing tickets for expired vehicle permits amid the COVID-19 outbreak, even though the provincial government has extended the period for which they are valid. So far officers have issued hundreds of tickets throughout the region. According to the departement, the tickets have been given at the discretion of the individual officer issuing the ticket. Some officers maintain they have no knowledge of the province extending sticker permits.

Drivers will have the option to fight the tickets in court. On June 29, Service Ontario reminded drivers of the extended timeline by taking to twitter with the statement “Reminder: Your licence plate sticker is valid! Learn more about extensions for driver’s licenses and vehicle services due to COVID-19…” followed by a link to the government’s original announcement of the extension.The reason for the extension is to limit the amount of in-person visits to Service Ontario locations. The validation period has been extended for not only licence plate stickers but also drivers licences, Ontario photo cards and commercial operator registration certificates.

Documents that expired on or after March 1, 2020 will remain valid and legal past the expiry until further notice. People who have confronted officers about the tickets have been told that officers are not aware of an extension and that people should be able to validate their licences online. They are also told they will have to fight it in court. Since March 1, officers have issued roughly 900 tickets to drivers for “permits that have not been validated”.

Last year 2,600 tickets were issued for the same offence. Many people lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and for many renewing their licence plate stickers isn’t at the top of their concerns. Many people have complained about the tickets being issued even though Service Ontario and the government of Ontario stated the licence plate was still valid.

MORE MASKS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford have announced a deal to ensure Canada always has access to personal protective equipment during a pandemic. The agreement means 3M will have to increase its capacity at its Brockville facility to allow it to produce up to 100 million medical-grade N95 masks a year.

The federal and Ontario governments are each contributing $23.3 million to help increase production capacity at the facility. The masks will be used to meet the private sector, provincial and North American market demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future. Full production is slated to begin early next year, according to Prime Minister Trudeau.

Ontario has recently been concerned with the production of personal protective equipment in the country when the COVID-19 crisis caused a global competition for a limited supply of masks and other equipment. The N95 masks set to be made at the 3M facility were in particularly short supply. Ford has said that he felt particularly frustrated at President Donald Trump’s attempts to limit the export of N95 masks from American plants, which includes 3M. “We were at the mercy of other countries when it came to the PPE we desperately needed,” said Ford during Friday’s press conference. “We will never be put in this position again. I’m not going to rely on any country ever again.”

This is the second domestic contract to produce N95 masks–Medicom, a Quebec-based company that recently signed a 10-year agreement to supply N95 and surgical masks to the federal government.Health Canada regulations require the approval of the masks and each shipment must be inspected by the Public Health Agency of Canada for quality control. Canada currently has contracts for 154.5 million N95 and KN95 masks. However, as of Aug. 3, only 54 million N95 and KN95 respirators had been delivered. All masks were imported from outside the country.KN95 masks are the Chinese equivalent of the N95 respirators that are certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States.

PEDALLING A NEW PARTNERSHIP

On July 14, Bike Share Toronto and CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) signed a multi-year agreement that will make CAA SCO an official partner of Bike Share Toronto.The agreement includes CAA SCO’s commitment to continue its official sponsorship of Free Ride Wednesdays. It also provides CAA members and CAA On the Move members with special offers on bike share memberships and rides through its CAA Rewards Program.

“The new partnership is a great example of what we can accomplish when we collaborate with the private sector. Through this partnership, residents can take advantage of the Bike Share program and find new ways to get moving across the city. I want to thank CAA for their support for our Bike Share program, and for being a road safety partner to help make our streets safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers,” said Mayor John Tory.CAA may be best known for its automotive roadside assistance, but its advocacy work has always focused on making Ontario roads safer, including providing access to resources and roadside assistance for bikes through its CAA Bike Assist program.

CAA Bike Assist helps CAA members who run into a bicycle problem that can’t be fixed on the spot.“CAA has a long history of advocating for the safety of the travelling public, no matter how they get from point A to point B,” said Rhonda English, chief marketing officer, CAA SCO. “We are always pleased to team up with the city of Toronto on road safety initiatives. Whether it be the Watch for Bikes program that kicked off over two decades ago, or the cycling safety programs aimed at sharing the road, today we are excited to once again partner and to help get more people moving safely around the city.”

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