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Every day Ontario motor vehicle dealers and salespeople demonstrate high ethical standards, facilitating over 1 million vehicle transactions annually—but in those instances that a dealer or salesperson fails to meet their legal and ethical obligations (i.e. breaches the Code of Ethics), the registrant may be subject to the Discipline Process.

The Discipline Process

A dealer or salesperson accused of breaching the Code of Ethics (CoE) may receive a Notice of Discipline (formerly known as a Notice of Complaint) issued by OMVIC’s Registrar. The recipient of a Notice can negotiate a settlement via an agreed statement of facts which often includes the imposition of a fine, educational courses and/or implementation of processes to prevent future breaches; or they can request a formal hearing.

Discipline hearings are serious matters; the proceedings are efficient, fair and transparent. An independent and impartial panel of three members will hear the evidence of both sides and determine whether or not the registrant (dealer/salesperson) has breached the CoE. Each panel includes two members who are registered dealers/salespeople and one member of the public.

OMVIC, acting in the public interest and mandated to maintain a fair and informed marketplace, will have legal representation and must prove its allegations. Registrants defend themselves and may be joined by a legal representative. Depending on the number of allegations, hearings can last one or more days. Evidence may be brought in the form of documents or through oral testimony given by witnesses.

If a registrant is found to have breached the Code of Ethics the panel can impose fines (maximum $25,000 per party named on the Notice), order the party to pay costs, order an individual to take further educational courses and require a dealer to pay for its staff to take educational courses.

This Discipline Process protects Ontario consumers and creates a level playing field for all dealerships. By law, all Discipline Decisions must be made public and are available for viewing here.

All dealers and salespeople are subject to the Discipline Process.

What to Expect at a Hearing

The following video provides an overview of what registrants and potential witnesses can expect at an OMVIC Discipline Hearing.

What to Expect at a Hearing

A Guide to OMVIC’s Discipline Process

This guide is designed to provide an overview of information with respect to OMVIC’s Discipline and Appeals process. It is not intended to be a substitute for the Rules of Practice and nothing contained, expressed or implied is intended as, or should be taken or understood as, legal advice.

As part of its mandate to protect the rights of consumers and promote industry professionalism, OMVIC may refer matters related to alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics to the Discipline Committee for a hearing. A hearing is a formal proceeding, much like a trial in a court of law, conducted by a panel of three members of the Discipline Committee. The panel will hear evidence, consider whether the facts prove the allegations and determine if the registrant(s) failed to comply with the Code of Ethics. Unlike a hearing before the Licence Appeal Tribunal, the Discipline Committee cannot revoke the licence of a registrant, nor can it require terms and conditions of registration.