Aftermarket Industry Declared Essential by Ontario and Quebec. What Does That Mean for Your Business?

With the ongoing COVID-19 response, the past few weeks have seen quick and constant challenges facing automotive aftermarket businesses. Most recently, the Ontario and Quebec governments have declared the aftermarket an essential industry.

As the VOICE and RESOURCE of the automotive aftermarket, we have developed some guidelines to help you navigate this new reality*:

  • Essential business designation does not mean a shop MUST stay open, it means that it CAN stay open when non-essential businesses have been ordered to remain closed.
  • The decision to stay open is up to each individual company.
  • AIA Canada cannot decide nor recommend for a business/shop to stay open or closed.
  • Work should be limited to providing service and maintenance to other industries and individuals designated as essential services by local, provincial and federal authorities.
  • Remember, employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their staff and customers.

If you choose to keep your business open during this time, AIA Canada has provided some steps you can take to help keep you and your customers safe and healthy:

  • At all times, follow the advice and instructions provided by municipal, provincial and federal health authorities.
  • Staff who are sick, symptomatic or in a high-risk group should stay home.
  • Provide hand sanitizer and soap for frequent hand cleaning.
  • Keep customers and vendors out of the shop. You have the right to screen customers and refuse entry for health and safety reasons. (see the Retail Council of Canada’s COVID-19 FAQ)
  • Stagger shifts, breaks and lunch hours to decrease staff interaction and increase physical distancing.
  • Move staff meetings to a digital format where possible.
  • Schedule appointments to limit the number of people at the shop at any one time.
  • Use photo estimation as much as possible.
  • Vehicles should be thoroughly disinfected when received from a customer and when returned to them.
  • Whatever steps your shop takes during this time should be clearly communicated to staff and customers and they should be on board with them.

You can find more resources for measures you can take to protect your employees and clients here:

For the latest information about COVID-19 and AIA Canada’s response to it, please visit our Coronavirus resource page.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at our dedicated COVID-19 email address,

Stay safe and stay healthy.

*AIA Canada does not take responsibility for third party links and content. Note that the content is evolving as the situation is evolving, please ensure your and your staff's health and safety are a priority at all times.