Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Email: sarahbruce@ara.bc.ca
Phone: 604-432-7987

COVID-19 Updates

Breaking News April 1, 2020 – B.C. hydro bill relief, Further details on the wage subsidies, Canada Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits, and starting April 6, anyone who has lost their job but has not applied for EI only needs to apply for the CERB, go to the COVID-19 Government Announcement page for more information.

As COVID19 creates challenges for how we conduct “normal” business operations, the ARA is working on your behalf to help you do what is best for your business in these uncertain times. We are updating daily so check back often and if you have a question or a precautionary measure you would like to share, please contact us at communication@ara.bc.ca

Please practice all recommended health and safety practices, it’s up to all of us to help keep everyone safe. Thank you.

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions
Approved Essential Service “Open” Notice
Government announcements regarding COVID-19 and what this means for you and your business

Tips to keep staff and customers safe

  • Go to ARA Health and Safety Website for more information.
  • Interact with customers as little as possible, offering video conferencing and texting updates instead. Offer valet pick up and delivery of cars instead of having customers in waiting rooms. Take payments online instead of using pin pad devices, try to avoid cash-handling.
  • Sanitize vehicle surfaces before and after service, marking windshield to indicate if it has been sanitized yet or not.

Actions the ARA has taken and will take

ICBC Updates

  • ICBC is still open for business. They are doing their best to help suppliers continue to process customers and encourage customers and shops to reach out if they have questions involving procedures during this time. Shops can expect normal turn around times.
  • For ICBC response, refer to the ICBC’s business continuity response team site: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/contact-us/Pages/covid-19.aspx
  • All ICBC salvage location buildings will be closed for public access. Payments can be made by phone with a credit card. Please call your local salvage handling locations. At this time, tows in/out will be permitted however tow operators are to remain seated in your trucks at check-in/out.

Questions the ARA is asking ICBC and government

  • Should the province go into further stages of lockdown, will the automotive service sector be declared an essential service and remain open? Answered: March 26, 2020 – B.C. Government includes towing services and vehicle repair/maintenance as essential services.
  • Will industry be able to bill for disinfecting services performed on customer vehicles? Answered: We’ve been in discussions with both ICBC and a supplier regarding the vehicle sanitizing process. A new disinfecting process will soon be released that will allow you to “mist or fog” the interior of a vehicle in a matter of minutes, killing the virus almost on contact. While the supplier finalizes details, we are pleased to announce that a special ARA discount will be offered to members. We’ve also had a positive discussion with ICBC around the need to consider the time involved to disinfect vehicles and expect a result soon.
  • Is ICBC capable of deferring customer deductible payments to help encourage those customers who are in financially challenging times continue to receive their claim repairs? Answer at this point: ICBC was already investigating this potential, there is no ETA at this time as a solution is very complex.
  • The ARA has asked that ICBC assist industry with their cash flow needs by implementing weekly payment cycles vs every two weeks. Answer at this point: ICBC has taken this under consideration and will investigate however they do have concerns with stretching their own capabilities during these difficult times.
  • Some customers are unwilling to sign the estimate release due to COVID19 concerns, is ICBC open to other options such as using an email release?  Answer at this point: ICBC will investigate this and other potential options.
  • As many of the schools, colleges, and universities are closing, do we foresee the same closures for I-Car courses? Answered: I-CAR Canada has cancelled all live classes now including welding. This is a big issue for shops that are just about to finish their training to achieve individual platinum to have Gold Class status. I-Car is now offering extensions, but the shops or enrolled technicians are asked to call into I-CAR (1-800-808-2920) to receive the extension. I-CAR will look at this case by case.
  • As this pandemic could last months, will ICBC recognize that many shops will experience delays in getting their technicians trained and ready for the new programs ahead?
  • Will the government potentially close down crown corporations such as ICBC? Answered: Not at this time.
  • Should claim centres close, is there an expectation that operations can or will continue as far as shops being able to process claims? Answered: ICBC is working to keep operations up and running as usual.
  • Is ICBC able to keep operations going with staff working from home?  i.e. Dial a Claim, Claims Repair Program? Answered: ICBC is continuing to take on new claims.

Helpful Links and Resources