The Specialty Vehicle Association of Ontario ( SVAO ) is a provincially
based coalition of car clubs, individuals and businesses concerned about
our ecosystem, automotive safety and keeping specialty vehicles on the
road. The primary function of the SVAO is to act as the representative
of the specialty vehicle community in matters of provincial and municipal
A specialty vehicle is defined as a motorized vehicle of personal
or public interest, historical significance or rarity.
The mandate of the SVAO is :
* to establish the demographics of the specialty vehicle community,
* to guide the provincial and municipal governments in matters
that impact or are of interest to the specialty vehicle community,
* to monitor all government initiatives that may impact upon
the specialty vehicle community,
* to provide the specialty vehicle community with a forum for
Due to a general concern about possible government legislation
that might have an adverse effect on the old car hobby, two directors
from each of the two largest car clubs in Ontario met informally
at the spring Barrie flea market. This initial meeting between
the Antique and Classic Car Club of Canada ( ACCCC ) and the
Historical Automobile Society of Canada ( HASC ) led to an all
clubs meeting at the fall Barrie flea market in regard to the
formation of a provincial watchdog organization to represent
the hobby in its dealings with the provincial government. An
ad hoc steering committee was struck and charged with the task
of trying to get this organization off the ground.
The committee consisted of representatives from the ACCCC, British
Car Council, HASC, Lincoln and Continental Owners Club Canada
( LCOC ), Lotus Club Canada, MG Car Club Toronto, Rolls - Royce
Owners Club Upper Canada, Toronto Triumph Club, and the Trillium
Cadillac LaSalle Club. The group met a number of times in various
locations and made three important decisions. The name SVAO was
chosen to align with the Specialty Vehicle Association of British
Columbia, a group with almost identical aspirations in B.C. The
SVAO's mandate would be provincial, as there already exists a
federal watchdog group known as the National Association of Antique
Automobile Clubs of Canada Corporation ( NAAACCC). The committee
also called a General Meeting in April where a good turnout of
concerned people affirmed the above mandate and elected a slate
The newly elected executive met formally once a month to start
to solve all of those details that any new organization encounters
as well as attending many events to publize the SVAO. A survey
was designed, tested and distributed to help establish the parameters
of our specialty vehicle community as well as its contributions
to society at large. Contact was made the various government
agencies as well as the Clean Air pilot auto emissions centre
and the Ontario Automotive Recyclers Association ( OARA ).
Representation from the Canadian Street Rod Association ( CSRA
) and the handcrafted and kit car segment of the community became
involved on the executive. A formal constitution was drawn up
and approved at the Annual General Meeting ( AGM ). Other topics
discussed at the AGM included membership, finances, scrappage
programs as well as a guest speaker from the Ministry of Energy
and the Environment ( MOEE ). The SVAO entered into an agreement
with the Recycling Council of Ontario ( RCO ) to publize any
vehicles that might be of interest to our members. This program
run in conjunction with OARA, necessitated that the SVAO set
up a hot line telephone number with a regularly updated
list for its members.
The big event of 1996 was the summer news leak that vehicle
emissions testing would soon be announced. The SVAO issued a
full scale Ontario alert and led the fight to protect specialty
vehicles and their owners from unnecessary and unjust legislation.
This massive campaign by all involved caused the government to
take note of our concerns. While all of this took up a tremendous
amount of time, the SVAO also decided to monitor the various
municipal by-laws that influence our community.
This year started out at full throttle as the fight for the "
twenty years old and exempt " rule in the area of emission
testing continued with much lobbying, meetings, presentations,
etc. A number of statements by various government officials showed
that all were not clear as to what some of their colleagues were
saying so the SVAO had to be there to make sure that we were
all heading down the same path.
The AGM was very well attended and our members had a good
discussion with the guest speaker from the MOEE who was direct
and to the point in answering the inquiries, most of which centred
on the emission testing. Concern was expressed at the under representation
of related businesses in the membership of the SVAO. A new and
very professional looking brochure regarding membership in the
SVAO was well received.
The executive initiated the start of a series of meetings
with the Ministry of Transportation ( MTO ) that would see the
beginning of discussions on many long range topics such as vehicle
licensing, safety items, insurance, etc. The continuation of
these meetings was deemed to be beneficial to all concerned.
The SVAO was granted standing at an inquest into a fatality
involving a specialty vehicle. Two of the directors took basically
a week of their time to participate in this process and were
generally pleased with the recommendations that came out of this
inquest. We were fortunate that they were there to handle the
An early New Year's resolution was to have a major membership
push and this was started in the late fall.
The SVAO reached 90 club memberships which directly represents
over 5000 people. Business memberships increased but not at the
hoped for rate. An extra push will continue in this area through
our quarterly newsletters in hopes that our members can get some
results here. The members of the executive continue to go out
and speak to various groups around the province. A number of
the executive have been involved since the inception of the SVAO
and this stability has been helpful but new faces have shown
up and anyone with an interest is encouraged to come out and
The 1998 AGM was another great success for those who attended.
They were able to listen to and question guest speakers from
the Ministry of Environment ( MOE ), Ministry of Transportation
( MTO ), and Transport Canada. The SVAO discussed a number of
areas of concern and cautioned its members to be ever vigilant
and to let the group know of any potentially troublesome situations
that they might hear about.