Certified Repairs at Tsawwassen Collision
ICBC Collision Repair Network
Tsawwassen Collision has been accredited by ICBC since the start of their accreditation program in 1995.
For almost 25 years, from 1995 to early 2020, the standard in BC for accreditation had been ICBC’s c.a.r Shop program. This program was effectively mandatory for any collision shop doing ICBC repairs as it was required for all electronic claims communication; claims handling would be very difficult without this. Tsawwassen collision has been accredited in this ICBC program since its inception in 1995.
As a standard for repair quality the ICBC program it had steadily fallen behind over the years and was not up to the reality of modern cars. In 2018 ICBC started planning a new program with more rigorous equipment and training requirements. This program, the ICBC Collision Repair Network, was implemented in early 2020, with the equipment requirements implemented in January 2021. As of May 2021 ICBC has not established minimum training requirements. At Tsawwassen Collision we view their equipment requirements as a basic minimum, and we have been well ahead of these for many years. Our current training levels will also be well above their base requirements.
BC Automotive Retailers Association Gold Plus Certified Collision Repair
The program started in late 2016 and in March of 2017 Tsawwassen Collision was the third shop in BC to achieve this Certified Collision Repair designation. The annual renewal requirements have been met each year since with our current Certified + Aluminum level indicating that we are qualified for aluminum repairs.
The BC Automotive Retailers Association, in cooperation with the national Automotive Industries Association introduced a certification program in early 2017. This Certified Collision Repairer (CCR) designation recognizes and requires the specialized equipment that is needed for correct vehicle repairs as well as the training needed for the correct use of this equipment.
I-CAR Gold Class
In December of 2016 Tsawwassen Collision was the 9th repair facility in BC to achieve I-CAR Gold Class status and has maintained this level every year since, with our current status Gold Class – Aluminum.
I-CAR is the not quite obvious acronym for the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. I-CAR was started in the mid-70s in America as a non- profit organization with membership from all facets of the collision repair industry. The primary objective was then and continues to be today the providing of training and technical resources for technicians and others working in collision repair. Today I-CAR licenses its programs in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
For many years training in BC was dominated by the requirements of ICBC and I-CAR had a very limited presence here. In 2015 management at ICBC realized that training of the industry should not be a core part of their business and they have moved away from their training role. With this change the I-CAR program became the standard for training for progressive shops in BC.
In mid-2016, of the more than 500 ICBC accredited shops in BC, Tsawwassen Collision was one of only 23 that had become involved in the I-CAR program. In October 2016, the first of these shops achieved Gold Class level and in December 2016 Tsawwassen Collision became the 9th repair facility in BC to become Gold Class.
There had been a strong push at Tsawwassen Collision in 2016 to reach this important level but we viewed it only as a step in the continuous process of learning and improvement. With continued courses and welding qualifications we have maintained this status each year since then.
Tsawwassen Collision is certified by Ford, Kia, Nissan and FCA (Fiat Chrysler America) and Honda Acura. The core requirements for all of these companies include I-CAR Gold Class and equipment similar to what is required by the ARA CCR. Each of them then have slight variations and additions. Two of the programs, Honda Acura and Ford, require significantly more equipment investment. The Honda Acura ProFirst program adds much more stringent structural repair equipment requirements and Ford requires very specific aluminum repair equipment.
Why are we not certified by other manufacturers?
To start with the main line brands, which most of us drive, there are requirements for certification which have nothing to do with repair capabilities. An easy example is Toyota; Tsawwassen Collision meets all Toyota repair capability requirements, but Toyota adds the requirement that the repair shop be sponsored by the local dealer. If, as in our case, that dealer has its own collision shop they will refuse to sponsor any other shop to encourage as much work as possible to their own facility.
As a second example, Infiniti requires a paid subscription to a data collecting service which funnels information on every repair back to Infiniti. Many people are getting tired of constant data collection but even if we accepted it at Tsawwassen Collision our in-house custom designed software systems are not compatible with the data collection system required. Complicated, but nothing to do with repair quality.
GM, Mazda, Hyundai and Subaru do not offer collision certification programs in Canada.
The High Dollar Brands
The cars cost a lot and the certification programs are very specific and also cost a lot. Tsawwassen Collision focuses on the local community, driving a wide range of vehicles. The cost of certification for many of the luxury brands would not be justified by the volume we would do. The business model of a facility set up for repair of extensive damage to luxury vehicles is very different from the business model that works for a facility working on a broad range of vehicles and damage types.
That said, we are very comfortable with these cars and very importantly understand out limitations. A hit on a late model car that does not extend into the main structure of the vehicle is well within our capabilities and we have complete confidence in the repair. If the impact is severe and the structure of the car has been affected, we know that without intensive brand specific training and tools we should not start that work. The manufacturer certification is focused on this specific structural work and many of them restrict sales of structural parts to certified shops.