In the matter of Motor Dealer Act R.S.B.C. 1996 C.316
Complainant: Vehicle Sales Authority of BC
Licensee/Unlicensed person: One West Auto Ltd.
One West Auto Ltd. (“One West”) applied for registration as a motor dealer.
In reviewing One West’s application, the Authority became concerned about the past conduct of the principals and owners of One West related to their operation of another dealership, Surrey Mitsubishi.
The Authority notified One West that it would not proceed with reviewing One West’s application until the conclusion of the Registrar’s review of the allegations against Surrey Mitsubishi.
One West applied for a hearing before the Registrar as One West says the decision to refuse to register One West as a licensed dealer was procedurally unfair since the Authority relied on allegations of past conduct in arriving at the decision.
A hearing was held on September 11th, 2019.
One West argued that the term “past conduct” as found in section 5 of the Motor Dealer Act of British Columbia (“MDA”), must be given its ordinary meaning and that meaning is ‘proven’ past conduct.
The Authority argues that it did not refuse to register One West but was holding its review of the application in abeyance subject to the Registrar’s decision involving Surrey Mitsubishi.
At the conclusion of the hearing held on September 11th, 2019, the Registrar directed legal counsel to prepare written legal arguments on the interpretation of section 5 of the MDA and specifically on whether past conduct should be interpreted as being “proven past conduct”. That process was completed on October 1st, 2019.
The Registrar found that “past conduct” as noted in section 5 of the MDA is not limited to only “proven” past conduct. It may include allegations of past conduct.
The Registrar noted this interpretation was consistent with the B.C. Legislature’s intention of protecting the public from potential future risks of harm.
The Registrar found that there is proven past conduct in the form of prior compliance action against Surrey Mitsubishi along with alleged past conduct that is to be reviewed, that if proven, would be a concern to the public interest.
The Registrar “stayed”, suspended the review of, the application of One West for registration as a motor dealer until the final resolution of the allegations against Surrey Mitsubishi.