Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 28

28
* AUGUST 2023
Techs retiring faster
than they can be replaced
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
know there is a massive shortage of automotive
technicians, and the problem won't
be solved overnight. "
Previously called the Trillium Automobile
Dealers Association, the MVRO has more
than 1,000 dealer members, according to its
website.
Data on age distribution between 2016 and
2021 shows an aging population of automotive
service technicians and mechanics.
From 2016 to 2021, the number of technicians
and mechanics in the 15-24 age group
declined by two per cent and the number in
the 25-54 age group by eight per cent. The
number of technicians and mechanics age
55 and over increased by almost 13 per cent,
according to the report.
" This indicates that the work force is
aging and that the number of people entering
the occupation is not sufficient to replace
those that will be retiring between 2022 and
2032, " the report said.
'GET THE FACTS'
The study was needed to
" get the facts to determine
what needs to be done going
forward, " Bourgon said.
" This study clearly
demonstrates we have a crisis
on our hands [and] will
also help our members plan
and navigate the service
side of their business for the
coming years. "
In the meantime, the
shortage is costing dealerships
money. Depending on
the hourly rate, which fluctuates
by dealership, the
estimated annual revenue
loss of one technician vacanLancaster:
Dealers
should
be
doing a
better job
promoting
the skilled
trades as
a desirable
career.
FILE PHOTO
cy is $429,600 to $644,440, the study found.
" Multiply that roughly half-million dollars
by the 3,000-person shortfall we have, and
that's ugly, " Bourgon to Automotive News
Canada.
Technicians working at new car and truck
dealerships and aftermarket repair shops are
typically paid based on a flat-rate system, a
fixed rate based on industry-standard hours
for the job regardless of the time it takes to
complete the work.
People working in the automotive service
trades working at dealerships
earn $60,000 to $80,000 a year, the
report found.
Ted Lancaster, an executive vice-president
at the 401 Group of Companies, which has 16
dealerships in Ontario, called hiring technicians
" challenging at the moment. "
" Technicians are very special people. The
technology in cars today requires very intelligent
people to work on them.
" We have a lot of great schools that offer
fantastic training, but we just don't have
enough people getting into it. "
Dealers, he said, need to shoulder some of
the blame.
" I don't know that we've done the best we
can to promote the opportunity to become a
technician. "
He said there's still a misconception that
being a service tech isn't " the most glamorous
position to have. "
When dealership showrooms were forced
to close during COVID-19, the service departments
remained open to maintain and repair
first-responder vehicles.
" The techs are essential, and we should
promote that as a positive. They are very key
to the operation of a business of a dealership
specifically. "
LOOKING OVERSEAS
To fill vacancies, dealerships are turning
to the federal Temporary Foreign Workers
Program (TFWP), but they say the process
is costly and extends the time line for hiring.
It takes 12 to 16 months to fill a position
through the TFWP, due in part to the
requirement that a lack of available workers
locally must be demonstrated through a
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA),
Bourgon said.
Recruiting temporary foreign workers
costs $20,000 and $30,000 per person. Of that,
20 to 30 per cent of the costs are associated
with the LMIA process.
" Eliminating the requirement for a LMIA
could reduce the length of time it takes to
fill vacant positions and increase access to
labour for employers in the short term as
they undertake initiatives to attract more
domestic workers to the industry, " the report
said.
One barrier is the cost of entering the
trades. That includes school tuition and tools
that dealers don't pay for. Most new technicians
need to spend between $20,000 and
Each vacancy in the service department
costs a dealership $429,600 to $644,440
in revenue annually, according to a
report commissioned by the Motor
Vehicle Retailers of Ontario.
PHOTO: ISTOCK
$50,000 on tools.
" Tools that come from the [automakers],
absolutely, that's our responsibility and we
take care of that, " Lancaster said.
Techs that graduate from an Ontario
school are traditionally buying their own
general tools. Depending on their specialty,
costs range, the MVRO said.
BARRIER TO FOREIGN HELP
Adding to the problem: Even temporary
foreign workers are forgoing a chance to
work in Canada because the process is too
cumbersome to navigate, the report said.
" In Australia and New Zealand, the process
to recruit foreign workers takes significantly
less time than in Canada, " the report
said. " According to a recruitment agency in
the Philippines, once an offer is made, it can
take less than four weeks to complete the
process. In Canada, it takes an average of 10
weeks to process applications for temporary
foreign workers from the Philippines, excluding
the time needed to provide requested biometric
information. "
Bourgon called the Canadian LMIA process
" long, expensive and futile " because
it never finds Canadians to do the job and
always points to the need for temporary foreign
workers.
The MVRO and CADA will used the
report's findings to lobby the federal government
for help, Bourgon said.
" We have a major problem, and we need
[the government] to start looking at [TFWP]
exemptions for our industry - like now, " he
said. " This is worse than anyone ever expected. "
It's
the first time " we've ever done a report
like this in our 115-year history, " Bourgon
said. " But everyone knew we had a problem
because we're recycling people by paying
them more money and stealing them from
other organizations and dealerships.
" And we've been recruiting out of country
for a year and a half. " - ANC
Stellantis'
commitment
to Canada is
one less worry
for Unifor
CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE
week standoff with the federal
government over incentive funding
that had prompted the company
to halt construction.
Bargaining will test the apparent
d├ętente between the company
and union, though Stewart told
reporters that Stellantis is excited
to get to the negotiating table.
" We're on course to continue
our great working partnership
and find a great agreement
together, " he said.
Stewart shied away from any
specific details but said the company
was " absolutely " willing to
engage on union priorities such
as higher wages for workers facing
high inflation.
" We all need to be successful
together, and that means everybody
continuing to have great
wages, great benefits and a great
place to work, " he said.
Under the company's current
wage structure, production staff
start at $24.26 per hour and top
out at $37.33 after eight years.
In May 2022, Stellantis committed
$3.6 billion to retool its
Windsor and Brampton plants to
build EVs. Work in Windsor is
scheduled to start this year, with
Brampton following in 2024.
Stewart would not disclose
product plans ahead of bargaining,
but he left no doubt about
the company's commitment to
both assembly sites following
the funding deal with Ottawa.
This eliminates one concern
for Unifor, as for several years
industry analysts had said the
future of the Brampton plant,
which ends making the twodoor
Dodge Challenger and the
four-door Dodge Charger and
Chrysler 300 this year, was at
risk. - ANC
CAMI expansion expected to add 300 jobs to the current 1,500
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
site, demonstrating innovation, flexibility
and opportunity during this historic
time of transformation in the
industry, " she said in a release.
GM did not disclose the value
of the investment but said it will
look for government assistance to
support the expansion. Company
spokesperson Jennifer Wright
said the company plans to apply
for Ottawa's new investment tax
credit, " once that legislation is
finalized. " The program provides
up to 30 per cent off the capital
cost of clean-technology equipment
investments in the form of a
tax credit.
Neither the federal nor Ontario
governments would comment
on whether they would provide
financial support for the expansion.
operating
on a single shift, meaning limited
hours for most workers.
'A GREAT BRIGHT LIGHT'
Mike Van Boekel, Unifor chairperson
for the plant with Local 88,
said a lack of available batteries is
limiting production today, but the
expansion at the plant provides
" a great bright light at the end of
the tunnel. "
Van Boekel:
The CAMI
expansion
" just locks
us in and
solidifies the
commitment
to job
CAMI's battery module and
pack production lines will support
300 jobs. The plant employs 1,500 salaried
and hourly workers, though it is currently
long, long
time. "
security here
I think for a
FILE PHOTO
" It just locks us in and solidifies
the commitment to job security
here I think for a long, long time
... which is great news not just
our members, but for Ingersoll,
for Oxford County and the surrounding
community, " he told
Automotive News Canada.
Wright said despite the new
battery production area, the
company expects to keep CAMI
employment levels at 1,500 in the
short term. There will be " opportunity
to grow as vehicle assembly
and battery module assembly
increases, " she wrote in an email to
Automotive News Canada.
will span 2.4 million square feet (220,000
square metres) following the work.
FOUR-STEP PROCESS
A 400,000-square-foot (37,000-squaremetre)
expansion at GM's CAMI
plant will clear the way for battery
component production for BrightDrop
delivery vans, pictured, and vehicles
built on the Ultium platform.
PHOTO: GENERAL MOTORS
Van Boekel, likewise, said he anticipates
hiring to ramp up as output increases.
" Once we get going full out there, we're
going to have to do a significant amount of
hiring. "
GM is already midway through construction
on the expansion, with local
media having reported dirt moving on-site
as early as January. The CAMI plant
GM said the new section of the plant will
produce both battery modules and finished
packs in a four-step process.
Modules are intermediary products,
made up of individual battery cells and
electronic componentry. Battery packs
combine modules with integrated cooling
systems and are ready to be integrated into
EVs.
The completed packs that come off the
new line at CAMI are slated for use in both
the BrightDrop delivery vans and other
GM vehicles that rely on the automaker's
Ultium EV platform. The company did not
provide a breakdown but said a portion of
the finished batteries will be transferred
directly to the BrightDrop assembly line at
CAMI, while others will be shipped to other
GM plants in North America.
Wright would not disclose details about
the investment, but she said it is in addition
to the roughly $2 billion for previous
retooling projects at CAMI and GM's
Oshawa Assembly Plant. - ANC

Automotive News Canada - August 2023

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive News Canada - August 2023

Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - Intro
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 1
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 2
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 3
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 4
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 5
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 6
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 7
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 8
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 9
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 10
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 11
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 12
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 13
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 14
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 15
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 16
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 17
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 18
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 19
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 20
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 21
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 22
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 23
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 24
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 25
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 26
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 27
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 28
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 29
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 30
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 31
Automotive News Canada - August 2023 - 32
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