The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario, Canada’s largest independent garage association, has announced that it is abandoning its support of the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) agreement and charting a new course for access to OE repair information.
AARO will launch its own task force that will work with the U.S.-based NASTF (National Automotive Service Task Force) to streamline the process of ensuring crucial access to repair information for independent Canadian service providers.
AARO member John Cochrane and AARO president Rudy Graf convened a meeting for members and press to make the announcement that AARO has renounced its membership in the National Automotive Trades Association and rescinded its support of the CASIS (Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard) agreement. Cochrane also announced his resignation as president of NATA, and the resignation as NATA secretary/treasurer Diane Freeman, AARO’s executive director.
At the meeting, held in Oakville, Ont., outside of Toronto, Cochrane pointed out that since the CASIS agreement was signed in 2009, in real terms little to no progress has been made in facilitating access to OE repair information by Canadian the independent repair community. Despite concerted efforts by NATA, the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA), and their members, access to needed service information has in some cases been so onerous that service providers faced having to tow customers’ vehicles to the nearest dealer to complete jobs.
The planned AARO task force will focus on addressing several key concerns: tools and equipment; training; vehicle security service information requests; and programming. The task force is scheduled to be in place by December 1, and aims to make its first presentation to Canadian service providers at the AARO symposium on January 19, with a second meeting in fall 2019.
AARO’s ultimate goal is to enable service providers to route service information requests directly through its task force, providing a means to resolve issues either through AARO members, or by forwarding issues directly to the NASTF chair. Other areas being examined are updated Vehicle Security Protocol training, streamlined access for tool and equipment makers to car manufacturers’ digital reappear information, and to facilitate programming authorization.
Though the program is at present restricted to AARO’s Ontario membership, Cochrane expressed his hope that the initiative would eventually be promoted nationally in partnership with AIA.
Automotive Industries Association of Canada president JF Champagne, who was present at the meeting, stated that while the association at present maintains its partnership in CASIS, it is willing to work with AARO members and other service providers to facilitate access to the repair information they need.