John Carmichael retires from OMVIC, still community involved

July 29, 2022

John Carmichael

John Carmichael is following through on his plans to retire from the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, to spend more time with his family and focus on his other community commitments. 

After a storied career that included owning a dealership, serving as a Member of Parliament and then leading the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council, John Carmichael has decided to step back from working full-time.

The 70-year-old told Canadian auto dealer he wants to spend more time with his three children and grandchildren. His son, Michael, is the President/CEO of UpAuto and the fourth generation of Carmichaels working in the industry.

Carmichael joined OMVIC as its Chief Executive Officer in March 2017 and became CEO/Registrar in June 2020, after being the interim Registrar since 2018. Prior to that he served as a MP for Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government from 2011-2015.

Carmichael provided notice last fall he wanted to retire from OMVIC in 2022. “I felt it was time for me to move on and somebody else to take the reins,” said Carmichael. “I’m not somebody who is going to retire permanently by any stretch.” He serves as Chair of the Ontario Science Centre and will be looking to do similar roles.

His work with OMVIC brought him back 25 years to its inception in 1997, when he was appointed to be its Chair. “I did that through to 1999 so I knew the company, but hadn’t had much interaction with it in many, many years. When the opportunity came to work for it I thought it would be an interesting challenge,” said Carmichael. “The two principal pillars of it are consumer protection and enhancing dealer professionalism, which were both important to me as a dealer.”

He owned City Buick Pontiac Cadillac Ltd in 1992, buying the dealership from his father’s estate, and kept it until 2010 when he was elected as an MP. He sold the dealership to a group that included his son.

With OMVIC, Carmichael made recommendations to the Ontario government for approval, one of which was the Digital Dealership Registration (DDR). It was implemented in March, allowing select dealerships to provide registration and licence plates directly to customers, thereby reducing the administrative burden they faced and saving additional costs and time.

“It’s not an easy process to have (regulatory changes) accepted,” said Carmichael. “They have to go through a fair degree of scrutiny and consultation with stakeholders and government, so while we did have some success I would hazard to say I would love to have seen a good deal more. That will come.

“I think we are going to see a number of areas changing in the coming two to three years that will help both further consumer protection, which has got to be something we are constantly vigilant in caring for, and to ensure that dealers help to raise that standard of professionalism for an industry which I think has moved significantly in meeting that objective over the course of the past 25 years.”

Frank Notte, Trillium Automobile Dealers Association Director of Government Relations, said Carmichael brought “thoughtful and steady” leadership in his role with OMVIC. He said OMVIC’s creation of a Dealer Support Team under Carmichael’s leadership is particularly noteworthy. “This proactive, dedicated approach to assisting dealers is a lasting legacy to cut red tape and makes dealers’ lives easier,” said Notte.

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