An estimated one in six cars have outstanding safety recalls on them says auto industry experts. There are currently approximately 23 million cars in Canada, and one in six translates to almost 4 million cars on the road with a safety recall. These safety recalls if left unattended will lead to safety defects which may result in accidents, crashes, injury or death according to manufacturers. However there's nothing stopping Canadian dealerships from selling a car with an open recall. No province or territory have laws which require a safety recall be repaired before registration. Not only that but safety or mechanical inspections currently do not require safety recalls to be fixed. "It's just this complete circle of finger-pointing that's going on, and nobody's taking responsibility for the issue," said Kevin MacDonald, a car dealer who is tired of government and manufacturer inaction.
The federal government is currently working to pass a bill which would allow the transport minister to order recalls and impose fines for low rates of recall fixes. So what is the root of the issue; why are there so many cars on the road with outstanding safety recalls? Manufacturers argue owners must do their part and be informed but owners on the other hand say they have received no information on safety recalls even if they bought their vehicles brand new from the dealership. Canadian law requires manufacturers to contact owners when there is a recall. They must also report the repair completion rates to Transport Canada, but the reports are not made public. "Sometimes they ignore the letters they receive, sometimes they move - they change residences and they don't provide a forwarding address," said Mark Nantais of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association.
George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association argues otherwise. He says the manufacturers are doing bare minimum in safety recalls. He claims he has heard of other cases in which manufacturers' mail advertisements are reaching owners but safety recalls are not. "They're cheap, and they're not motivated to bring these cars in [compliance] in all cases, so they'll tolerate low correction rates." CBC News checked 200 vehicles currently for sale across Canada and found about one-sixth had recalls that remain unfixed or open. Their findings are very similar to the findings from Carproof, a service that sells car history data to dealers and the public, that one in six vehicles for sale currently have a safety recall.