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Business: Transportation

The Auto$mart Driver Educator's Newsletter

Summer 2005 Edition

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New Auto$mart Kit Launched at Auto Show in Toronto!

The updated, expanded and redesigned Auto$mart Driver Education Kit was officially unveiled at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto on February 16, 2005.

This high-profile event was the perfect venue to drive home the message on the economic, environmental and safety benefits of fuel-efficient driving.

Two Government of Canada ministers participated in the event, underlining the government's commitment to energy efficiency as a core element of Canada's climate change response. Representatives of Young Drivers of Canada and 11 student drivers also took part.


The kit includes:

  • The Instructor's Guide*
  • A Student Workbook
  • An Instructor's Version of the Student Workbook
  • A VHS video series
  • A support CD-ROM

* An In-Car Instructor's Guide and Student Tips Cards are available for those not involved in classroom sessions.

The Honourable Tony Ianno, Minister of State (Families and Caregivers) and Member of Parliament for Trinity-Spadina, launched the new Auto$mart kit, entitledA New Point of View – Linking Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving. The Honourable R. John Efford, Minister of Natural Resources Canada, then presented the 2005 EnerGuide Awards to the manufacturers of the most fuel-efficient vehicles sold in Canada (a list of winners is available at

"The Government of Canada is pleased to honour Canadian automakers and driver educators who are doing their part to help Canada address the challenge of climate change," said Minister Efford. "By promoting cleaner vehicles and environmentally conscious driving, they're helping Canadians save money, save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions – which contributes to a greener future for all of us."

Half of every individual Canadian's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from transportation – this makes fuel-efficient driving especially important. The new Auto$mart kit makes it clear that fuel-efficient driving improves road safety, saves motorists money and minimizes GHG emissions and other pollutants.

Minister Ianno said, "As the cars of tomorrow become even more efficient, the drivers of tomorrow must also do their part. I am pleased to see ongoing efforts such as the Auto$mart education kit help Canadians lead the way on climate change."

The Auto$mart kit was first introduced in 1997 as a free resource to help driver educators across Canada instruct students on how to buy, drive and maintain their vehicles with fuel efficiency in mind.

«…drivers of tomorrow
must also do their part. »

– The Hon. Tony Ianno

The new kit, A New Point of View, strengthens the focus on the relationship between fuel efficiency and road safety, with new teaching and learning materials that focus on the environmental, health and safety benefits of fuel-efficient driving.


The Hon. Tony Ianno launches
the new Auto$mart kit.

As in the past, the materials are geared toward teenagers, but can be easily incorporated into driver education programs aimed at any age group.

The new kit is now available free of charge to driving schools that register with Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency. And by registering at, driving schools can have their names posted on the Auto$mart Web site.

Student drivers

The Hon. John Efford gets help from some student drivers to show off the new Auto$mart kit.

« By promoting cleaner vehicles and environmentally conscious driving, they’re [automakers and driver educators] helping Canadians save money, save fuel and reduce greenhouse gas emissions… »


Master Training Sessions

Get the Ball Rolling

Giving driver educators the tools and resources for safe and fuel-efficient driving is only the first step in getting the message out to student drivers – it's also important to show educators how to use these new materials and incorporate them into their regular curricula.

"If you train people, they are more likely to use a resource and use it well," said Madeleine Middleton, a program officer with the Personal Vehicle Initiative, a program of Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE). "So we're making a real effort to train as many driver educators as possible to make sure they are comfortable with, and know how to use, the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit."

As a first step, a pilot train-the-trainer workshop was held in Toronto on February 15, 2005 – the day before the official launch of the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit. The session was attended by representatives of the Driving School Association of Ontario and some of its member driving schools from the Toronto and Hamilton areas.

Eastern & Western Master Trainers

Eastern Master Trainers
(top) and Western Master
Trainers (bottom)

"This was really an opportunity to have a dry run of the training program," said Sue MacNeil of the Road Safety Educators' Association (RSEA), which is partnering with the OEE to provide free training to driver educators on how to use the new Auto$mart kit. "The session confirmed our training strategy and provided some valuable feedback that enabled us to make the training program even stronger."

Step two was to provide Auto$mart training to a group of "master trainers" who had been recruited from across Canada. The first session, for eight master trainers from eastern Canada, was held at the RSEA's training facility in Kinburn, Ontario (north of Ottawa), from February 21 to 23, 2005. Another eight master trainers from western Canada were trained at a session in Calgary from March 7 to 9, 2005.

"The training we received in Kinburn was excellent," said Louise MacDonald of Prince Edward Island. "They focused on a cost-benefit analysis that linked safety and fuel efficiency. This is what we're trying to teach driver instructors to do with their students."

As a result of these two sessions, the following 16 master trainers are now qualified to train other driver educators on the new Auto$mart kit:

Alberta – Corinne Buisse-Lavallée
Alberta – Lucy Pilch
Atlantic Canada – Louise MacDonald
British Columbia – Spencer McDonald
British Columbia – Frank Townsley
Manitoba – Lou Gervino
Manitoba – Maria Minenna
Ontario – Greg Blanchard
Ontario – Ben Estrada
Ontario – Bob Lewis
Ontario – Denis MacNeil
Ontario – Scott Marshall
Ontario – Mary Skirrow
Ontario – John Svensson
Quebec – Pierro Hirsch
Saskatchewan – Ken Claffey


Auto$mart Has an Advocate in Prince Edward Island

Louise MacDonald, owner of Abegweit Driving School Limited in Prince Edward Island (Abegweit, pronounced A-BIG-WAYT, is the Mi'kmaq name for P.E.I. and means "cradled in the waves"), has long been an advocate of teaching fuel-efficient driving techniques. Now, she's putting her commitment into action in a big way as a master trainer for the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit.

Louise MacDonald

Louise MacDonald, owner
of Abegweit Driving School
Limited in Charlottetown,
Prince Edward Island,

«The new kit is definitely more user-friendly than the previous Auto$mart kit, and has more information students can take away with them.»

– Louise MacDonald

As the Atlantic Canada representative for the Road Safety Educators' Association, Ms. MacDonald was a logical recruit to provide training to other driver educators in the region. Her 25 years of experience in the industry, combined with the fact that she has been teaching fuel efficiency in her own school's program for many years, gave her added credibility.

"I sometimes feel like I'm giving away all my trade secrets," laughed Ms. MacDonald when asked about the workshops she delivers to other driver educators, some of whom may be direct competitors. "But I am really committed to this program and its focus on linking safety and fuel efficiency. Better teachers mean better students, and better students mean safer drivers."

Ms. MacDonald reports that the follow-up evaluations from train-the-trainer workshops she has delivered to date in Halifax and Charlottetown have been very positive, with driver educators showing enthusiasm for the new resources and information.

"The new kit is definitely more user-friendly than the previous Auto$mart kit, and has more information students can take away with them," she said. "The information and teaching strategies are also more visual, which really helps with younger students."

When pitching to driver educators who may not be convinced about the merits of using the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit, Ms. MacDonald appeals to their common sense.

"I would tell other instructors first and foremost that this is new material. This is the latest research, technology and information available. You can't lose with it.

"And I would really encourage them to take advantage of the free training session. It will make the instructors themselves more fuel-efficient drivers, which in turn will make them better instructors."

"She is also convinced that by participating in the train-the-trainer workshops, driver educators will change the way they teach, both in the classroom and on the road.

"People in the industry who have not been teaching fuel efficiency will experience a big difference in how they approach teaching. For instance, they'll be more inclined to tell students to leave lots of space between vehicles, not only because it's safer, but because it also saves fuel and minimizes frequent braking and acceleration."

Abegweit Driving School Limited has already incorporated some of the new Auto$mart modules into its regular teaching program – and the response was almost immediate.

"I did a small pilot with one of my groups using the new kit and the feedback from students was very good. Driving schools administer the written test for the beginner's licence in P.E.I., and while students are waiting to get their results, we organize them into small groups and get them to do a poster. Immediately after the pilot session, two of the five posters we got back included fuel efficiency messages. So that tells me the students got the message loud and clear.

"The goal of driver educators across the country," said Ms. MacDonald, "is to make Canadians safer drivers." She's convinced the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit can help them do that, and at the same time contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment.



Workshops Underway

Future planned workshops include:

  • Grande Prairie, Alberta – Start-Rite
    Driving School –
    July 16, 2005
  • Ottawa, Ontario – Driving School
    Association of the Americas
    Conference – August 13, 2005
  • North Bay, Ontario
    (date to be confirmed)
  • Sudbury, Ontario
    (date to be confirmed)
  • Brandon, Manitoba – Manitoba
    Public Insurance –
    September 10, 2005
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba –
    Manitoba Public Insurance –
    September 16, 17 and 24, 2005
  • Newfoundland and Labrador –
    September 2005 (location and dates
    to be confirmed)
  • Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    – October 3, 2005
  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward
    Island – Fall 2005 (date to be

Master trainers for the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit are getting the message out that safe driving is also fuel-efficient driving. Train-the-trainer workshops have already been held in a number of locations across Canada.

In Atlantic Canada, driver educators participated in a seminar at the Nova Scotia Safety Council Conference in Halifax on March 30, 2005. Seven educators and six government representatives from the Prince Edward Island Department of Transportation and Public Works attended a workshop hosted by Abegweit Driving School Limited in Charlottetown on April 8, 2005.

A train-the-trainer workshop was also held in Montréal on April 11, 2005, in conjunction with the annual conference of the Association québécoise du transport et des routes. A total of 31 educators received training at this session.

"These have been really dynamic sessions and the educators have become very engaged in learning how to use the new Auto$mart kit," said Madeleine Middleton of Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE). "The evaluations received by people who have taken the training have been very positive."

Driving schools interested in hosting a training session should contact the Road Safety Educators' Association (RSEA), which is working with the OEE to ensure that all driver educators in Canada have access to free training on the new Auto$mart kit. Schools and individual educators can also register to use the kit through the RSEA, a non-profit professional association committed to advancing the cause of road safety and injury prevention through education.

For more information on future train-the-trainer workshops or to organize a free Auto$mart workshop in your area, e-mail or call (613) 839-3003.

Dates for future train-the-trainer workshops and a registration form for the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit are also available on the RSEA's Web site at


Quebec Safety League

Endorses New Auto$mart Kit

When the Office of Energy Efficiency went looking for training venues for the new Auto$mart Driver Education Kit in Quebec, all it took was one call to set the wheels in motion. Fortunately, that call was made to Marie Brillon.

"When Natural Resources Canada told me they were looking for training opportunities, I immediately thought of the AQTR [Association québécoise du transport et des routes] annual conference in Montréal in April," remembered Ms. Brillon. She then went to work finding a time slot for Auto$mart on the conference program, booking a training room, sending out letters of invitation and basically facilitating the session from start to finish.

To Ms. Brillon, it was all in a day's work. As manager of the Quebec Safety League, her job is to promote safety and accident prevention on Quebec roads. Since 2000, the League has been part of the larger AQTR, which facilitates knowledge and training on transportation issues in the province.

As one of the many stakeholders who had contributed to the development of the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit over the previous year, Ms. Brillon needed no convincing of its worth as a training tool for novice drivers.

"Driving schools and instructors generally don't have a lot of new material to work with," said Ms. Brillon. "I believe that new programs help you re-evaluate what you are doing and give you new ideas and new energy – so I thought it was important to make this training available."

One of the key attractions of the new kit, according to Ms. Brillon, is the fact that it links environmental and safety issues. "We hear a lot about the environment these days, and we hear a lot about safety. When you bring the two together, it's a new approach that gets people's attention.

"We also have to remember that driver educators don't have a lot of extra time to develop new materials on their own because they are busy managing the business, often seven days a week. The Auto$mart kit serves the material to instructors on a platter, and it's up to them to decide what to use."

Ms. Brillon said the results of the training session at the AQTR conference were worth the effort. Many of the 48 driver educators who participated came away impressed and full of ideas about how to incorporate the material into their programs, which are heavily oriented to in-car training in Quebec.

"I was enthusiastic about helping to arrange the training session because I support the philosophy behind the Auto$mart kit," said Ms. Brillon. "It's a new way of looking at driving, and I hope that people will start to apply these different strategies in Quebec, not only to prevent pollution but also to improve road safety."


What's All the Fuss About?

The Driving School Association of Ontario has called the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit "an exciting new curriculum from Natural Resources Canada with unprecedented flexibility for educators."

According to the Road Safety Educators' Association (RSEA), "the delivery systems provided are fabulous."

With reviews like this, driver educators might be wondering what all the fuss is about. The best way to find out is to register with the Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency for your free copy of the kit. Here's what you'll find inside:

  • an Instructor's Guide that sets out five lesson modules and explains how to incorporate this information in your existing education program;
  • a Student Workbook, with engaging exercises, additional information and free space for students to make notes (just tell us how many students you have per session, and we'll provide enough workbooks for all of them!);
  • a Student Workbook Instructor's Version, which ensures that the answer to every question will be at your fingertips throughout the lesson;
  • a video that will bring to life each of the five modules in the Instructor's Guide;
  • a CD-ROM containing all the kit's print and video materials, as well as more links and resources;
  • an In-Car Instructor's Guide; and
  • student tips cards (just tell us how many students you have per session, and we'll provide enough for all of them!).

"Not only will this material bring you up to date on fuel efficiency, but it will also expose you to some of the new learning, research and teaching strategies to enhance students' retention and use," said Sue MacNeil of the RSEA. "I don't ever remember material being developed for driving instructors that had so much going for it."

To register to receive your free copy of the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit, visit our Web site at, or call collect (613) 943-1621.



Auto$mart Kit a Hit in Alberta

Driver educators in Alberta were among the first to get a glimpse of the new Auto$mart Driver Education Kit – and if the number of registration forms handed out is any indication, they liked what they saw.

"Auto$mart has an excellent working relationship with Alberta Transportation, which regulates driver training in the province," explained Louis Brzozowski, Manager of the Personal Vehicle Initiative, a program of Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency. "The Ministry hosts driver education meetings in Edmonton and Calgary each year, and we were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase the new Auto$mart kit at both events."

Mr. Brzozowski made presentations about the new Auto$mart kit, A New Point of View – Linking Safe and Fuel-Efficient Driving, to about 60 driver educators in Edmonton on January 25, 2005, and to another 40 in Calgary on January 27, 2005. After providing a brief history of Auto$mart, he presented a prototype of the kit and showed clips from the new Auto$mart driver training video. Mr. Brzozowski also spoke about the important contributions the driver education community and other stakeholders had made to the development of the new teaching resources.

"The kit was very well received," said Mr. Brzozowski. "We also had an exhibit set up with other publications and materials, and instructors were lined up to obtain registration forms for the Auto$mart kit. The response was enthusiastic, to say the least – they truly believe it will add value to their programs."


Have You Registered Yet?

It's not too late to register to receive your free copy of the new Auto$mart Driver Education Kit. Simply visit our Web site at to sign up on-line or download a registration form.

If you also register for a free Auto$mart Driver Education Workshop, you'll receive an advance copy of the kit and additional information in the next few weeks. Otherwise, your Auto$mart Driver Education Kit will be shipped in September 2005.

Driving schools that were using the previous Auto$mart Student Driving Kit must register again to receive the new kit. This is a great opportunity to update your profile in the Auto$mart database! So be sure to send in your registration form.

Remember: Driving schools that register for the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit can have their names posted on the Auto$mart Web site!


Auto Industry Committed to Reducing Emissions


Driver educators now have an important new ally in their efforts to encourage fuel-efficient driving practices. A landmark agreement was signed on April 5, 2005, which commits the Canadian automobile industry to significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles over the next five years.

Under the agreement, signed by the industry and the Government of Canada, automobile manufacturers have voluntarily agreed to reduce annual emissions from new vehicles by 5.3 megatonnes by 2010.

To achieve this objective, the Canadian automobile industry will offer consumers a wide variety of fuel-saving vehicle technologies. The industry will continue to pursue design and engineering advances that improve fuel efficiency without compromising safety, and will ensure that appropriate fuels, including alternative fuels, are available to motorists. Auto manufacturers will also continue to help Canadians understand what they can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by supporting positive consumer and driver behaviour.

All of these commitments support the principles behind the Auto$mart Driver Education Kit – namely, the need to buy, drive and maintain personal vehicles with fuel efficiency in mind. Driver educators are encouraged to refer to this agreement as an example of "things to come" and the growing momentum towards increased energy efficiency across the Canadian transportation sector.


Provinces and Territories

Jumping on the Fuel Efficiency Bandwagon

Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency (OEE) is working closely with provincial and territorial departments responsible for driver education and licensing to encourage motorists to adopt fuel-efficient driving practices that will save them money, increase road safety and contribute to Canada's climate change goals.

The OEE is pursuing a phased approach to ensure that the message about the benefits of fuel efficiency is reaching as many Canadian drivers as possible. Safe, fuel-efficient driving is the principle behind the new Auto$mart Driver Education Kit.

Specifically, provinces and territories are being encouraged to:

  • include fuel efficiency messages in their handbooks for new drivers (Phase I);
  • include questions about fuel efficiency on exams for new drivers (Phase II);
  • add a mandatory component on fuel efficiency to their driver training curriculum (Phase III);
  • make other OEE materials and publications on fuel efficiency available to the public through their licensing bureaus (Phase IV); and
  • provide a link from their driver training and licensing Web sites to the Auto$mart Web site (Phase V).

As outlined below, several provinces and territories are already implementing various elements of this five-step approach.

Phase I Phase II Phase III Phase IV Phase V

British Columbia
New Brunswick
and Labrador
Prince Edward


British Columbia
Nova Scotia

Prince Edward