About CAMVAP

What is CAMVAP?

CAMVAP is a cross-Canada program that you can use to resolve disputes with a manufacturer about defects in your vehicle’s assembly or materials, or how the manufacturer is applying or administering its new vehicle warranty. Disputes are resolved through binding arbitration.

CAMVAP covers most domestic and imported passenger cars, light trucks, sport utility vehicles, vans and multi-purpose passenger vehicles purchased or leased in Canada, as long as the vehicle is the current model or one of four previous model years.

What is binding arbitration?

Binding arbitration means that you and the manufacturer agree to accept the decision of an impartial person called an arbitrator who listens to presentations from each of you at a hearing and makes a decision based on those presentations.

If you make a convincing presentation and a CAMVAP arbitrator rules in your favour, the arbitrator can order the manufacturer to repair or Buy-back your vehicle. On the other hand, if the manufacturer’s presentation is more convincing than yours the arbitrator will dismiss your claim.

The arbitrator’s written decision is called an Award. Once the arbitrator gives an Award, the case is over. Neither you nor the manufacturer can appeal the decision and both of you must do what is necessary to carry out the arbitrator’s decision.

The arbitrator’s mandate and the arbitration procedure are spelled out in CAMVAP’s Agreement for Arbitration is available at www.camvap.ca or from the Provincial Administrator.

What can a CAMVAP arbitrator order?

A CAMVAP arbitrator is authorized to order certain, specific things which are called “remedies”. You will be asked to pick the remedies you want when you fill out your Claim Form.

An arbitrator can order that the manufacturer do one or more of the following:

  • Repair your vehicle at its expense;
  • Buy your vehicle back at a price set by a formula (with or without a reduction for use);
  • Reimburse you for previous repairs;
  • Reimburse you up to $500 for diagnostic testing of your vehicle done prior to the date of your hearing;
  • Reimburse you for certain out-of-pocket expenses up to $500;
  • Reimburse you up to $100 of your total costs to summons witnesses.

The arbitrator can also order that:

  • The manufacturer has no liability for your claim; or
  • The arbitrator has no jurisdiction (authority) over your claim.

But a CAMVAP arbitrator cannot order:

  • Exemplary, punitive or other damages (except as allowed by the plan);
  • That the agreement to buy or lease your vehicle be voided or set aside;
  • Reimbursement of expenses to buy or lease your vehicle;
  • A Buy-back if you exceed the Buy-back eligibility requirements, even if repairs cannot be made;
  • Extended service contracts or warranty extensions.

What kind of presentation do I have to make for CAMVAP?

At the hearing you should present all of the information needed to convince the arbitrator to decide your claim in your favour. This includes the testimony of witnesses and documents. You will find detailed help with your presentation in a companion guide called “Getting Ready for CAMVAP”.

Should I keep records for CAMVAP?

Yes. You should track your efforts to resolve the problem with your vehicle by noting who you spoke with at the dealership or manufacturer and when. You should also keep all relevant documents such as invoices, letters, service records, bills of sale, work orders, receipts for out-of pocket expenses, lease agreements or other contracts. These may be necessary to prove the facts of your case.

Do I need a lawyer to go to CAMVAP?

You do not need a lawyer for CAMVAP, but if you feel more comfortable having a lawyer advise you and make your presentation, you may do so at your expense. You also have the option of having a friend or family member assist you. Manufacturers do not usually bring lawyers to CAMVAP hearings.

Can I bring witnesses?

You can and should bring to the hearing anyone who has relevant information to help prove your claim.

What if I need an interpreter?

CAMVAP hearings are conducted in one of Canada’s official languages, English or French. For all other languages CAMVAP can arrange an interpreter at your expense.

Do I have to keep the outcome of CAMVAP confidential?

No. You may discuss your involvement in the plan, including the arbitrator’s Award, as you see fit.

CAMVAP periodically posts case results on its website or reports publicly on case outcomes, but it does not circulate copies of Awards to arbitrators or other parties and it will not disclose information that identifies you personally.

For a copy of our Annual Report, ask us or visit www.camvap.ca.

How can I have confidence in the arbitrator?

CAMVAP’s arbitrators are arms-length service providers who have completed training that is specific to the plan. They sign a contract with CAMVAP to uphold its standards and ethics. They are not automobile experts but can call upon technical expertise at any time during your case.

In each Canadian province or territory the courts oversee the arbitration process and arbitration legislation sets out when you can ask a court to set aside an arbitrator’s decision or order a new hearing.

How do I know the manufacturer will obey the arbitrator’s Award?

Like you, the manufacturer is legally bound by the arbitrator’s Award and will carry it out as part of its commitment to CAMVAP. If one of you does not obey an Award, you or the manufacturer may ask the court to enforce it.

What are the advantages of using CAMVAP?

CAMVAP Is Fair

You will receive a fair hearing before an impartial arbitrator. Consumers with vehicle problems or warranty concerns like yours have used CAMVAP since 1994 and have given CAMVAP arbitrators high ratings for being courteous, professional and fair.

CAMVAP Is Fast

From start to finish, CAMVAP targets 70 days to resolve a case. We work to set up your hearing within 50 days of receiving your completed application. Then, approximately 14 days after your hearing, we will send you the arbitrator’s Award.

CAMVAP Is Friendly

Your CAMVAP hearing will be held in a hotel meeting room, community centre or similar facility as close to your home as possible. Hearings are less formal than court. Witnesses take an oath or make a solemn promise to tell the truth but you do not have to use special language. Other than common courtesy, there are no special rules about how to behave.

Although CAMVAP is less formal than court, the general pattern of a CAMVAP hearing is similar to court. The arbitrator leads everyone through the process. You (the “claimant”) make the first presentation. The manufacturer’s representative (the “respondent”) goes second. Then you may reply to anything new that the respondent brings up.

CAMVAP Is Free

There are no fees to use CAMVAP but it may cost you to prepare and present your claim such as the fees and expenses of your lawyer, witnesses or interpreter.

CAMVAP Is Final

Once the arbitrator makes a decision, it is final. There is no appeal. When the manufacturer carries out the Award, your claim is over and the manufacturer is released from any further responsibility for it.

You and the manufacturer have limited rights to ask a court to set aside an arbitrator’s decision or allow a new hearing but this will not happen just because one of you does not like the final outcome.

What alternatives do I have to CAMVAP?

CAMVAP is entirely voluntary and you are in the best position to judge whether it is right for you. You may go to court for your dispute or you may use CAMVAP, but you may not do both.

Before deciding on CAMVAP, research other available options such as going to court, negotiating with the manufacturer, selling or trading in your vehicle or taking no action at this time. Check into consumer protection laws in your province or territory. Weigh the pros and cons of CAMVAP and any other options that you have, then pick the option that makes the most sense for you.

How is CAMVAP organized?

CAMVAP is a corporation whose members are representatives of the automobile industry, the provincial and territorial governments and consumers. The automobile industry funds the plan but holds a minority of seats on the Board of Directors. Participating manufacturers and importers are listed at the back of this booklet.

Do I qualify for CAMVAP?

To qualify for CAMVAP, you must meet certain, specific conditions. These are called eligibility criteria and they are spelled out in detail in the Agreement for Arbitration.

You qualify if:

  • Your dispute is about:
    • The application or administration of the Manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty as it applies to your Vehicle; or
    • Allegations of a current defect in vehicle assembly or materials specific to your vehicle as delivered to an authorized dealer where the defect is currently causing symptoms in your vehicle that have not been repaired properly;
  • Your vehicle is a passenger car, light duty truck, van, sport utility vehicle or multi-purpose passenger vehicle which weighs no more than 4,536 kg (10,000 lbs) gross vehicle weight (GVW);
  • Your vehicle has traveled not more than 160,000 kilometres at the time of the hearing;
  • Your vehicle is of the current of 4 previous model years. For example, in 2011 after September 30 it must be a 2008 or newer model; in 2012 it must be a 2009 or newer model;
  • You were the registered owner of the vehicle when the dispute arose;
  • Your vehicle is registered to a business that you own and you or a family member is the principal driver;
  • Your vehicle is registered to a corporation of which you are an officer or director and you or a family member is the principal driver;
  • Your vehicle is leased (for at least 12 months) and the lessor signs the claim form;
  • Where your vehicle is leased to a business or corporation (for at least 12 months) and you are also the business owner or an officer or director of the corporation and you or a family member is the principal driver;
  • You continue to own or lease the vehicle throughout the arbitration of your claim;
  • You live in a Canadian province or territory;
  • You followed the dispute resolution process described in your warranty booklet or owner’s manual;
  • You gave both the dealer and the manufacturer a reasonable amount of time and opportunity to resolve the problem;
  • You allowed the manufacturer to complete the work for a recall under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act or a manufacturer initiated service campaign (whether or not the recall or service campaign relates to your claim) where:
    • You were notified about the recall in writing; and
    • The recall work will be done at no cost to you.

But you do not qualify if:

  • Your dispute involves any personal injury and/or third party property damage (including property damage to your own vehicle) even if you allege a defect in vehicle assembly or materials;
  • You are claiming consequential or incidental damages, loss of profits, inconvenience, loss of use or availability of your vehicle, or punitive damages;
  • Your claim was already settled with the manufacturer or an authorized dealer;
  • The dispute is between you and an authorized dealer, not you and the manufacturer;
  • Your claim is or was arbitrated, mediated or settled outside CAMVAP;
  • Your claim is being litigated in the courts by you or as part of a class action;
  • Your vehicle is used primarily for business or commercial purposes;
  • Your vehicle is a motor home;
  • Your claim is based solely on loss of confidence with your vehicle for which there is no current defect with your vehicle;
  • Your claim is based on allegations of a defect in the design of your vehicle or the design of any of the materials of your vehicle;
  • You vehicle is or was used as an ambulance, taxicab, limousine, police, fire or municipal service vehicle, snowplow or hearse;
  • Your vehicle was modified for driver education purposes.
  • Your vehicle was:
    • Written off or declared a total loss by an insurance company; or
    • Identified as a total loss by the manufacturer and confirmed as such through an Insurance Bureau of Canada report; or
    • Registered by a provincial or territorial transportation ministry as irreparable, salvage or rebuilt;
  • Your vehicle is built to non-Canadian specifications and intended for sale outside Canada;
  • Your dispute is about a service contract, extended warranty, or third party warranty which is not part of the manufacturer’s new vehicle warranty;
  • You allege a tire defect, even if the manufacturer warrants tires under its new vehicle warranty;
  • Your dispute is about after-market options or accessories not ordered and installed by the manufacturer or dealer at the time of the original retail sale;
  • Your dispute is about rust proofing that the manufacturer did not apply;
  • Your dispute is about fuel efficiency unless you allege that a fuel efficiency problem is caused by one or more defective components.