MASSE DEMANDS REFORMS TO THE MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT: Canadian legislation needs to be modernized to protect public safety

March 16, 2010

MASSE DEMANDS REFORMS TO THE MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT: Canadian legislation needs to be modernized to protect public safety

Ottawa, On- Today, NDP Industry, Automotive, and Border Critic Brian Masse (Windsor West), after House of Commons hearings into the Toyota vehicle recall, demanded that the government implement reforms to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and additional resources for Transport Canada (TC) so that Canadians have the same robust oversight, regulation and enforcement as consumers in the United States do.

‘The inaction of this government in dealing with the Toyota recalls has left Canadian consumers with nothing compared to their American neighbours,” Masse declared. ”In the US the number of investigations and the scope of those inquiries have lead to revelations and discoveries that are resulting in not only US consumers being protected but Canadians as well. We should not have to depend on a foreign country’s regulators to protect our citizens.”

Congressional hearings in Washington by several committees have lead to commitments by Toyota Motor Corporation to disclose information that was previously withheld concerning all the vehicle recalls and remedies worldwide. Furthermore, Toyota stated it would establish an Automotive Centre of Quality Excellence with a significant investment of resources and personnel. There have been no equivalent announcements or commitments in Canada. The US Congressional hearings have lead to the release of documents detailing Toyota’s Washington office boasting of saving the company $100 million by not instituting recalls. The investigations by the US Attorney for the Southern District of Manhattan and the US Securities and Exchange Commission into Toyota are on going. The National Highway Safety Administration’s is conducting a thorough examination of the electronic components and software of Toyota vehicles. Transport Canada has declined to investigate these Toyota components.

“The Act needs to be modernized to give Transport Canada additional powers such as the authority to order recalls, establish an ‘early warning system’ requiring automakers to turn over more data so that TC can rapidly initiate investigations, and convert voluntary compliance in to mandatory. Additionally, TC Defects Investigation unit needs to obtain the tools and additional staff resources to deal with the complexity of modern vehicles. As of now they have only a staff of ten. Even Toyota stated at the committee hearings that TC needs more staff. The legislation must change or else the government is abandoning Canadians’ safety to foreigners- Americans or Japanese,” Masse stated.

For more information please contact: Mohummed Peer 519-255-1631