Manitoba Public Insurance unveils plans for Centre of Excellence in automotive research and training

Taking the lead on cutting edge training opportunities in the auto body repair industry

Manitoba Public Insurance will invest in construction of a new Centre of Excellence in automotive repair research and training. This state-of-the-art facility will be located within the Corporation’s Physical Damage Compound in Winnipeg, and will enable qualified technicians to share and teach the newest auto body repair techniques and technologies.

The new centre seizes on opportunities presented by a rapidly evolving automotive industry. By increasing auto body apprenticeship opportunities and fostering partnerships with Apprenticeship Manitoba, Red River College and Manitoba high schools, Manitoba Public Insurance will ensure that the auto body technicians in Manitoba remain highly skilled and able to respond to rapidly developing construction and repair techniques.

“With an eye to the future, we all recognize that the auto manufacturing industry is going through significant change. The auto body repair industry must keep pace for the sake of its customers,” Gord Mackintosh, Minister Responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance, said today.

“The new research and training centre provides an excellent opportunity for Manitobans to pursue highly skilled careers and ensures there is the capacity to do cutting edge auto body work in Manitoba, helping to keep Manitoba’s auto insurance rates amongst the lowest in Canada.”

Manitoba’s public auto insurer is committed to ensuring its customers’ vehicles are repaired safely and fully comply with the stringent safety repair standards associated with newly manufactured vehicles. These vehicles are often constructed with “complex” materials ─ aluminum, carbon fibre, high strength and ultra, high-strength steels. Common examples are the 2013 Dodge Dart, 2015 Ford F150 and various BMW models.

“It’s expected that by 2018, half of the Manitoba fleet will represent vehicles with at least some complex materials. The auto body repair industry is going to experience significant changes in terms of its repair techniques, the need for special tools and body shops,” said Dan Guimond, CEO and President, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“Manitoba Public Insurance recognizes that the auto manufacturing industry is creating significant change for the auto body repair industry and costs of repairs are increasing, which is why we are taking steps to save Manitobans money over the long-term,” said Guimond.

Through collaboration with industry partners like Red River College, Apprenticeship Manitoba, the Automotive Trades Association, the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association and the Manitoba Commercial Vehicle Repair Association, the Corporation will offer improved training for workers in the province’s auto body repair industry. By doing so, this will ensure vehicles damaged in collisions continue to be repaired safely and to original manufacturer standards, resulting in increased safety to the benefit of all Manitobans, said Guimond.

“The collaboration between Manitoba Public Insurance and Red River College will augment the educational experience for our students,” said Paul Vogt, President and CEO, Red River College. “We recognize the importance of auto body repairers staying abreast of new vehicle design, construction, technology and repair techniques and partnership with MPI is an innovative learning approach to meet the high demand for skilled employees throughout the industry.

“In addition to the academic outcomes, joint research studies between Red River College and Manitoba Public Insurance with composites and advanced trades techniques will ensure the completion of safe and reliable vehicle repairs by auto body repairers in Manitoba,” said Vogt.

Physical Damage Centre transition

Over the next few months, Manitoba Public Insurance will be transitioning its existing Physical Damage Centre into a new facility to perform research and training on new vehicle design, repairability and technology. This will enable the Corporation to use its economy of scale and industry leverage to provide a direct-training delivery program to the collision repair industry.

“This new Centre of Excellence will ensure Manitoba Public Insurance and the Manitoba collision repair industry can keep up with the rate of change for vehicle technology and continue providing the highest levels of customer service to Manitobans,” said Guimond.

“The facility will enable highly-skilled professionals to perform research and training on new vehicle design, repairability and technology, while also delivering training for the collision repair industry in Manitoba, and perhaps beyond.”

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