Our History

The History of the Automotive Retailers Association

The ARA was founded in 1951 (officially chartered as a Society in March 1952), and proudly celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2012.

The Association was first conceived by a group of B.C. service station garage operators who came together to identify and address the issues they were facing. Issues at the time included their lack of control over profit margins associated with gas prices, and harsh treatment from oil suppliers.

As time progressed, the role of this representative body significantly expanded. The association grew to include hundreds of members seeking representation, information and support across automotive areas such as towing, collision repair, mechanical, recycling, and more.

It was eventually necessary to organize the ARA into specific divisions, to ensure that the needs of each category were being met. We now have 8 divisions in total, and hundreds of business members across the province.

Some of our most significant industry achievements are as follows:

  • Lobbied the provincial government to pass the Apprenticeship and Tradesmen’s Qualification Act
  • Successfully obtained positive amendments to the Mechanic’s Lien Act
  • Helped to introduce Garage Liability Insurance
  • Successfully defended 28 of our members against incorrect charges of price fixing
  • Supported industry in the development of The Collision Repair Industry Agreement (CRIA)
  • Played a vital role in the development of the Canadian Automotive Service Information Standard (CASIS) – which was a much needed solution to the “Right To Repair” issue
  • Assisted with securing a provincial cap on vicarious liability
  • Assisted with achieving tax equality on the private sales of vehicles
  • Established the ARA Group Benefits Plan, a tailor-made insurance option for small to medium automotive businesses to meet their needs efficiently and cost effectively
  • Establishing a Fuel Surcharge formula for BC towers to deal with the volatile price fluctuations.
  • Developed the Environmental Code of Practice for auto recyclers that was enacted into legislation as a section of the British Columbia Environmental Management Act in September 2007.

Details of the ARA’s history have been preserved over time on the pages of the Association’s newsletters and magazines. Recently, a regular column titled The History of a Successful Trade Association started appearing in the ARA News (introduced by former Executive Director Ron Baldwin in 2008). When Ron passed away in 2009, the ARA series he began was continued by ARA ambassador, Mr. Phil Singer. The complete instalments can be viewed here.