Autobody repair shops can breathe a sigh of relief this week with the lifting of a deadline of April 15 that required collision repair shops to sign an agreement with the Manitoba Public Insurance Corp.
Negotiations for a new agreement between representatives of repair shops, the Automotive Trades Association of Manitoba (ATAMB) and MPI began last fall. The agreement between MPI and accredited collision repair shops was due for renewal on April 15, but MPI terminated the agreement a month early, on March 15.
Meanwhile negotiations were not satisfactory to the ATA members – the body shops.
ATA Executive Director Steve Dennis said MPI initially requested an agreement by April 15. “They have provided a new agreement that our members can sign if they wish, and they put a deadline on for our members. They said if you don’t sign by Apr. 15, we’re going to take away your direct repair option, your estimating standards and there was a number of punitive measures that would make it difficult for us to do proper repairs on cars.”
Shops were threatened with being de-listed as MPI repair shops if they didn’t sign by April 15, but the Crown Corporation agreed Monday to remove that deadline.
Auto Body shops in Manitoba are all paid the same shop rate of $74.43 per hour for their repairs under MPI. They say they need more. They are asking for parity with Saskatchewan Public Insurance shop rate of $90 per hour.
Manitoba’s MPI rate hasn’t moved in five years and technicians who work in the shops are usually paid based upon their shop’s charges, so wages have not kept up with inflation. Meanwhile, according to Dennis, wages for MPI (office staff and adjustors) have increase 13 per cent over the same time five years.
He points out that MPI covers an hourly shop charge of $90 for the repair of power products (snow machines, motorcycles, etc.). He says, “Twenty per cent of Manitoba body shops were not profitable, pre-pandemic."
Watch for more details on this story and what it might mean for car owners with further coverage in the Empire-Advance.