Gone are the days when a dealer could put someone on the floor for 90 days while they took the province’s sales licensing course and had their license application reviewed by the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC), which enforces the act and regs.
All that was needed was proof that the applicant had applied to take the course and an application for a sales person’s license. OMVIC would then issue a temporary license good for 90 days.
Now, everyone will have to pass the course and get their license before they can set foot on the floor.
The change came in with the rest of the amendments to Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Dealer Act and regulations on Jan. 1.
“The old OMVIC process gave the dealership and the newly hired salesperson time to see if they were comfortable at the store, said Darin George, president of the Automotive Sales College. “And they got some experience while they were studying.”
And if they made a sale, they made some money.
George, who has recruited and trained sales people since 1996, said, “I have many dealers that are continually looking for new sales people and this hiring process has made an historically difficult process a disaster.”
Teresa DiMarco, comptroller at Colombo Chrysler in Toronto, agreed that it would be difficult because rookie sales people like to make some money while they are taking the course.
“They say, ‘I can’t wait. I need to make money now,’ ” she said. “We used to have the person work the floor and interact with customers. They might do a product presentation… Now, they can’t do anything.”
DiMarco said she happened onto the changes while talking to an OMVIC staffer about another matter.
The only way to take some of the sting out of the changes, she said, is to let the candidate work as a greeter.
Lorenzo D’Alessandro, president of Marino’s Auto Group in Toronto, first worked with
the new rules when he hired two sales people in February.
He said: “If they sign up for the course and complete it in 10 days, and if they apply to the OPP for a background check, which takes 10 days, then they can apply to OMVIC.
Once they send in proof they’ve successfully completed the course and the application, it will take another 12 days. That’s 22 days; that’s fastest I’ve seen.”
Add to that the cost of the training course and the application fee and that’s quite a barrier to entry, he said.
D’Alessandro said his new hires were patient, but he sees the changes as a real headache for dealers who have a heavy turnover on the sales floor.
Just don’t blame OMVIC. It liked things the way they were.
“This change wasn’t done at our request; we didn’t want it,” executive director Carl Compton told Canadian AutoWorld.
Compton said the old way let a sales trainee sell legally with a temporary license 48 hours after supplying OMVIC proof they were taking the sales course and an application containing a declaration that they had no criminal record. Then the regulator had 90 days to vet the application.
“We protested vigorously because the old way allowed us to provide dealers and sales people with excellent customer service in that we could turn a clean (temporary) application around in 48 hours. Then there was plenty of time for the student to take the course, us to do the due diligence and the dealer could size up the applicant and train them,” Compton said.
If there were a problem with the application, OMVIC could cancel the temporary license “without formality,” he said, meaning the applicant had no right to keep on working, though they could appeal the decision.
Now that the temporary license is history, OMVIC can’t issue a license and the applicant has no right to take part in the sales process until they have cleared all the hurdles.
Sue Carroll, media analyst with the Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services, the ministry responsible for the changes, told Canadian AutoWorld that allowing an unlicensed sales person on the floor was not consistent with the regulatory scheme in the Consumer Protection Act.