Is this the best use of car sales levy?

We are a highly regulated world and things are not getting any better. I recently had a conversation with a sales manager in a local automotive dealership about an organization known as AMVIC (Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council).

We are a highly regulated world and things are not getting any better.

I recently had a conversation with a sales manager in a local automotive dealership about an organization known as AMVIC (Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council).

I had to be honest — I had never heard of them.

It turns out that AMVIC is a regulatory body designed to provide a licensing program for several elements of the automotive industry that range from sales to repair.

On the surface, it sounds like a pretty good plan, but it appears to be another money pit that likely duplicates services from government branches that handle consumer issues and complaints.

The intentions are fairly honourable because AMVIC wants to protect consumers.

But the devil is in the details.

AMVIC has been around for 13 years, according to its website. The organization derives its operating capital from licence fees that are applied to every licensed employee and business currently registered with AMVIC. It operates with 15 employees, most of whom are active complaint investigators who average about 135 investigations each per year.

The website states that they have mediated restitution settlements for Alberta consumers to the tune of $19 million since 2000. That is a pretty amazing figure, but one still has to ask whether some layer of existing government bureaucracy could have answered the bell on the complaints and got similar restitution.

The financial statements found on the AMVIC website raise questions.

The program appeared to survive on licence fees paid by individuals and businesses until they began to take on water in fiscal year 2008-09, when it lost $289,494. It lost $ 332,000 in the next fiscal year. (Labour costs rose from $854,090 in 2003-04 to $1,943,333 in 2009-10, more than double in six years.)

However, AMVIC had a plan: throw a $6.25 tax on every vehicle sold by every licensed dealer. The projections indicate that the organization will add $1,705,000 in extra revenue in the first year from levy/alternative fees and rise to $2,537,000 by fiscal year 2013-14.

The organization also predicts labour costs of $3,053,000 by fiscal year 2013-14. From $854,090 in 2003-04, labour costs will have nearly quadrupled within 10 years.

The website is only current to 2010, when there were 15 employees. It talks of plans to add two more investigators in the immediate future while adding fund administration duties to one employee because of the anticipated $1.5 million surplus by Dec.31, 2011, derived from the car tax.

The labour costs seem very high to me and fewer than 20 people employed as investigators cannot constitute the entire labour force for AMVIC. Education trainers were billed out separately to the tune of $109,200 in 2009-10, and the labour budget has skyrocketed since the inception of AMVIC.

The program has added extra paperwork, expense and headaches to the automotive sales and repair industry while delivering an extra tax to car purchasers because of AMVIC’s revenue shortfall.

But has the program has actually stemmed the tide of unscrupulous car curbers who simply avoid AMVIC and change business names and addresses when discovered by the investigators?

That is the multimillion-dollar question behind AMVIC: are they breaking new ground or were consumers already covered by existing regulatory bodies?

Jim Sutherland is a local freelance writer. He can be reached at jim@mystarcollectorcar.com.

Just Posted

(Image from Council of Canadians)
Council of Canadians hold coal mining information rally

Event to take place at City Hall Park at 1 p.m. on Friday

Red Deer respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie was among the first central Alberta health professionals to receive the Pfizer vaccine in December 2020. Since then, nearly 3.4 million doses have been administered and COVID cases are falling rapidly. Photo by Alberta Health Services
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall sharply

Red Deer cases almost into the double digits after topping more than 900 only five weeks ago

(Advocate file photo.)
Red Deer city council discusses strategies to restore integrated emergency dispatching

Red Deer city councillors discussed additional ways on Tuesday to try to… Continue reading

Local developers who are doing building upgrades or new construction will face less land servicing costs and gain some flexibility. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jan Rutta (44) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after Rutta scored against the New York Islanders during the third period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Kucherov shines, Lightning beat Islanders 4-2 in Game 2

Lightning 4 Islanders 2 (Series tied 2-2) TAMPA, Fla. — Brayden Point… Continue reading

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) shoots as Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) defends during the fourth quarter of Game 5 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Durant’s sensational performance sends Nets to 3-2 lead

Nets 114 Bucks 108 (Brooklyn leads series 3-2) NEW YORK (AP) —… Continue reading

New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery throws to a Toronto Blue Jays batter during the first inning of a baseball game, Tuesday, June 15, 2021, in Buffalo, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)
Frazier snaps tie, Yankees come back to beat Blue Jays 6-5

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Clint Frazier snapped an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-hit… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Pornhub says it has removed all content uploaded by non-verified users. The sex website faced accusations it hosted illegal content. The company, which is owned by Montreal-based Mindgeek, says it has suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by one of its content partners or members of its Model Program. THE CANADIAN PRESS
International women’s rights advocates call on Canada to hold Pornhub to account

Jeanette Westbrook says being sexually abused as a child will haunt her… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2021 file photo, transporters Miguel Lopez, right, Noe Meza prepare to move a body of a COVID-19 victim to a morgue at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has topped 600,000, even as the vaccination drive has drastically slashed daily cases and deaths and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 1, 2019 file photo, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks about health care legislation he's backing in the upcoming session, in Baton Rouge, La. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty's ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and… Continue reading

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian man during clashes that erupted ahead of a planned march by Jewish ultranationalists through east Jerusalem, outside Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Israelis march in east Jerusalem in test for new government

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,”… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) vies for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vets Pietrangelo, Perry contributing for Vegas, Montreal

LAS VEGAS — Alex Pietrangelo and Corey Perry had very different free… Continue reading

Most Read