GJA Auto Dealer Practice

A few years ago, one of my good friends, who was an Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council ("OMVIC") inspector, resigned and started a consulting company to help Ontario auto dealers with day-to-day compliance under the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act, 2002 (the "MVDA").  Shortly thereafter, he contacted me for help with one of his clients that had been charged by OMVIC.

I got up to speed quickly on the MVDA and OMVIC and I was able to negotiate a resolution for this client, which included a $20,000 reduction in the fine levied (for a breach of MVDA advertising standards) and no mention of the dealer-principal's name in the settlement agreement (which is a public-record document).  The latter point is important because reputation is everything in the car business.  (However, please note that this was a huge reduction in a fine and it does not mean that I will be able to negotiate the same magnitude reduction for another dealer who is charged by OMVIC.  I would be glad to assess your situation and give you my no-BS opinion if and when you find yourself in trouble with OMVIC.)

Following that first case, I approached this practice area as seriously as I did when I developed my outsourcing and technology law practices: I spent hundreds of hours researching it. I delved into OMVIC's authority, the limits of that authority, and its approach to regulation of and laying charges against dealers and salespersons.  I am confident that there only a handful of other lawyers in the province who know as much as I do about this practice area.

The bottom line is that I have developed this niche practice area with a view to preventing charges under the MVDA, by implementing legal controls at auto dealers that will help avoid many of the pitfalls that typically attract OMVIC's attention, and resolving charges against brought by OMVIC through a negotiated settlement (or, if necessary, a formal defence).  

Below are images of some of the materials and newsletters that I have developed for this practice area and a description of their content. 

GJA Auto Dealer Compliance Program
  • This is the brochure for my GJA Auto Dealer Compliance Program.TM
  • It describes 3 (affordable) levels of legal compliance programs to deal with OMVIC and its current approach to the administration and enforcement of the MVDA and other consumer protection legislation as it relates to auto dealers.
GJA Auto Dealer Compliance Program
  • This is my GJA Dealer Compliance Practices ReportTM (which includes my GJA Dealer Compliance Report CardTM).
  • The report will provide a summary of the strengths and weaknesses of the legal compliance controls currently in place at a dealership.
  • It will form the basis of determining whether the dealer needs compliance help and if so, what level of help: frequently, occasionally, on-site or remote.
Don't Let OMVIC Bully You!
  • This was a Special Edition Newsletter entitled Beware of OMVIC Mystery Shoppers! issued in November 2016.
  • It addresses a recent practice by OMVIC representatives to call up dealers, pretend to be real car buyers, and, in essence, trap a dealer in a technical violation of the MVDA 2002 – all for the purpose of levying a fine against that dealer.
  • This newsletter explains how dealers typically get in trouble with OMVIC mystery shoppers, tips for identifying these shoppers and things that dealers can do to do to limit their risk of a violation of the MVDA 2002.
Don't Let OMVIC Bully You!
  • This was a Special Edition Newsletter entitled Don't Let OMVIC Bully You! issued in December 2015.
  • It addresses two issues – the vagueness of OMVIC's charges and the randomness of OMVIC's fines – that auto dealers should protect themselves against.
  • Periodically, I will be issuing additional newsletters on significant issues or developments that dealers should be aware of.

In addition, I have created the following half-day seminars that auto dealers may wish to consider as part of their on-going legal compliance and workplace standards programs:

Ontario Auto Dealer MVDA and OMVIC Compliance: An Ounce of Prevention…

DOs and DONTs in the Workplace:  A Guide for Ontario Auto Dealership Employees

If you would like to receive a copy of my program brochure or my newsletters or you would like additional information on the above-noted seminars, please reach out to me through my Contact Me page.

George J. Atis
Lawyer - Counsellor - Advocate