The auto belts are worthless when it comes to autocross. With manual belts you can twist the belt and then run the doubled up webbing through the eye on the buckle. This will hold your ass in place through the turns.. even if you don't have any decent lateral support (like the stock escort seats). Autocrossing my wagon w/ the auto belts, I'm either clinging to the wheel or slammed up against the door. As many of you know, a driver cannot possibly use his/her vehicle to the max when so much effort is being put into staying in the driver's seat. Fortunately I have some MX-3 seats on the way to help rectify this problem. I'm a long ways from Canada, eh.
The auto seatbelts were an option for automakers (from the US DOT) instead of driver-side airbags for a few years in the early 90s. Ford reasoned that the horrible things would be cheaper than the new-fangled airbags and installed them in many of their cars until the airbag was made a manditory item in '95, and then mandatory on the passenger side in '97 (I think).