AMVIC in spotlight after leaked letter


EDMONTON, ALTA. – A leaked document released by Alberta’s Wildrose party indicates the provincial government has some concerns about the quality and impartiality of investigations carried out by the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry Council (AMVIC).

The letter, written by Service Alberta minister Stephen Khan to Wayne Paulsen, board chair of AMVIC, raised a number of concerns regarding the council’s misuse of administrative enforcement tools, investigations and hearings that “have not been reached in a manner that is fair, impartial and open,” and high staff turnover with low morale among investigators.

The Wildrose critic for Service Alberta, Rick Strankman circulated the letter in early March and termed the alleged actions “extremely serious.”

He urged Premier Jim Prentice to “immediately account for the contents of this letter.”

AMVIC provides consumer protection in Alberta’s motor vehicle industry through mandatory industry licensing for motor vehicle businesses and salespeople as required by the Fair Trading Act of Alberta.

Khan’s letter, dated Jan. 16, states an investigative operational review of AMVIC by Service Alberta identified a number of concerns.

Among other things, it noted since April 2013, AMVIC investigations positions have had a voluntary attrition rate of over 60 per cent and that most investigations staff interviewed indicated they were actively seeking other employment.

John Bachinski, executive director of AMVIC said in an email that AMVIC remains committed to continue working with Service Alberta to see where improvements can be made.

“We have a very strong and competent investigations team led by employees that bring extensive experience in law enforcement, investigations, compliance and regulatory inspections and management,” he said.

Strankman said an example of the impact of improper oversight in the industry occurred this past summer after Calgary Police began investigating Treadz Auto for allegedly not returning money owed to vehicle owners after selling their car.

He noted that with the investigative operational review into the policies and practices at AMVIC launched just recently, Albertans deserve a definitive timeline for how long consumers have been victims of this alleged wrongdoing, and who should be held accountable.

“An apparent delayed response, combined with a lack of political openness or accountability from the ministry sends a very troubling message to Albertans,” he added.