News, Updates and Information

Retired Cars

It seems as though everyone is talk ing about scrapping a vehicle these days. I think this is largely due to the hype that surrounded the American Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS) program, better known as “Cash for Clunkers.”

While the CARS program certainly demanded a lot of media attention and was a huge success in some respects, the Canadian program provides features and benefits that are at least equal to that of the American program, and may even be greater on a per capita basis.

Retire Your Ride is flourishing on a grand scale. To date the program has retired more than 15,000 older vehicles from Canada’s roads, and reduced smog forming emissions by over 800 tons.

Canada’s Retire Your Ride Program is an initiative of the Government of Can ada, the Clean Air Foundation, and its partners. The program is designed primarily as a mechanism to encourage the removal of older higher polluting vehicles from our roads and making sure they are responsibly recycled.

The Automotive Recyclers of Canada (ARC) is the national voice of the automotive recycling industry in Canada. The association has participated in development, and has been instrumental in providing input for the Retire Your Ride Program.

Steve Fletcher is the managing director of ARC. He says, “Retire Your Ride is all about the environment, both retiring high polluting vehicles and encouraging responsible recycling of those vehicles.”

Personally, what I like most about the Canadian program is how it is set up for success and addresses all industry stakeholder concerns. The driving public now has an incen tive to scrap their 1995 or older model vehicle. As long as it is in running condition and has been registered and insured for the last six months, they can simply drop it off at an accredited auto recycler and receive a $300 “reward” for doing so. If that reward doesn’t appeal, there are other incentives available. These include transit passes, bicycles, memberships in car sharing programs, and discounts on new and used vehicles.

Professional automotive recyclers play a key role in the disposal of these vehicles, as we are the ones who make sure that every vehicle scrapped under the Retire Your Ride program is dealt with in an en vironmentally friendly manner. The National Code of Practice was cre ated for Environment Canada by ARC. Those of us that are registered in the pro gram and have completed the training session on the National Code of Practice are helping to make the entire process seamless for all parties involved.


The Clean Air Foundation has fostered many pro-environmental programs. The people that make up the organization have shown that they truly under stand the very nature of automotive recyclers. This is especially true regard ing what we can bring to the table from a “Green” perspective.

With the vision of the Clean Air Foundation and the strong support from ARC and all call centres throughout the country, we are sure to retire at least 50,000 vehicles per year until March 31, 2011.

As Steve Fletcher says, “the Retire Your Ride program is based around a three year stable funding arrangement that sees Federal money leveraging other stakeholder’s financial commitments.”

While the $300 incentive may not seem like a lot of money, it is truly enough to make a profound impact on many Canadians who can appreciate the severity of the situation from not only a financial perspective but also an environmental perspective.

In terms of a stimulus package, the Retire Your Ride program is fully supportive of seeing manufactures “top-up” the $300 incentive to encourage the driving public to purchase a newer, more fuel efficient car, truck, or van.

Chrysler, Hyundai, GM, Volkswagen and Ford are all official automotive partners of the Retire Your Ride Program. These five manufactures offer additional incentives over and above the $300 incentive that comes from the government. These incentives come out of the company‚Äôs coffers. They’re not taxpayer money.

Owners and managers of collision repair centres can help advance this cause by helping to educate the public on the pro -environmental initiatives of this program. It’s also a great opportunity to educate them on the environmental and economic benefits of the re-using of car components in general.

The benefits of automotive recycling in general, and in particular the re-use of high-quality OEM vehicle components, are very important for the preservation of our precious natural resources. Central to the entire Retire Your Ride program is recognition of this fact. For this reason, I believe it is an appropriate vehicle retirement program and is one that should be supported. It promises good things for all stakeholders, as well as every person in Canada.

David Gold is the co-owner of Standard Auto Wreckers, an auto recycling facility with locations in Toronto, Ontario and Niagara Falls, New York.