On March 18, 2022, NASTF sent an email to its approximately 1,000 Canadian members. The message stated that NASTF has been receiving a number of service information requests (SIRs) from Canadians that they have been unable to resolve. They described these SIRs as having been “escalated as far as NASTF’s reach allows.”
NATA is aware that the majority of these SIRs are related to access to vehicle security data. The fact is, some Canadian car companies have not allowed access to vehicle security data on their US counterpart’s service information website, even when the website does provide that type of data to registered American vehicle security professionals (VSPs). In some cases you may be able to register and pay for an account, only to find that the website does not have this data for Canadian VINs.
The CASIS Agreement and Vehicle Security Data
It is important to note that access to vehicle security data is not within the scope of the CASIS agreement. This is recognized within the terms of the agreement itself. The reason this was done is that the applicant screening process of the US system could not be used in Canada due to differences in privacy law and criminal background checks between the two countries. A Canadian screening program was developed by NATA and became operational in 2012.
More recently, NASTF decided to invite Canadians to apply directly to their VSP registry, bypassing the Canadian screening process entirely. This effectively killed the Canadian program. NASTF has been running it this way for the last few years. NATA does not know how the screening program solves the issues around criminal background checks and sensitive data crossing the border.
The bigger issue is that with advances in vehicle technology, more and more components and systems are tied to security, meaning that independent repair professionals require access to security data to complete repairs. Some of the biggest brands do not make this information available to Canadians. Because of its voluntary nature, there is nothing to stop car companies from restricting information access.
So, what can we do?
NATA is calling upon the CASIS Task Force to address this issue voluntarily. While NATA has always supported a voluntary solution, as exemplified by the CASIS Agreement, if one cannot be reached, legislation may be the only other avenue available. Right now, there is a private member’s bill in front of Parliament that seeks to amend the Competition Act such that Canadian auto manufacturers and distributors must make repair information, tools, and training available to the aftermarket industry. Arguments for or against the bill have yet to be made.
When speaking to government and other stakeholders on behalf of Canadian automotive professionals, it is important that NATA can demonstrate that its message has the support of Canadian automotive professionals. That is why your membership is of such importance. The old adage about strength in numbers very much applies.