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Wednesday January 21

CCIF Hamilton Report

Canada’s Collision Industry Forum, held on January 10th at Hamilton’s Sheraton Hotel, was attended by 250 participants. Joining the mix of collision repairers, insurers, suppliers, trainers, and trade associations at this Forum was a large contingent of auto recyclers, keen to join the debate on the use of salvage parts and to network with industry stakeholders.

Hamilton Mayor Larry Di Ianni encouraged CCIF in its efforts to strengthen the industry and to provide careers for young people.

A presentation from Bev Cook, representing the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum and Skills Canada, detailed the concerted effort underway to position the skilled trades as a first career choice. An extensive promotional campaign will include advertising, media relations, strategic partnerships and support tools. The campaign will also address the need to encourage employers to take on apprentices and provide a supportive environment for them.

Through CCIF and regional trade associations, the CARS Network had carried out a study of the barriers to training and the interest level in distance learning methods. Linda Brown of the CARS Network reported that the results from several hundred completed surveys indicated an interest in televised satellite training, which would overcome the traditional barriers of availability, accessibility and work schedules.

CCIF’s Education & Training Committee will continue to support the efforts of the CARS Network to facilitate both technical and business skills training for the industry.

“We’re on a mission,” says Mike Mario, chair of CCIF’s Communications Committee. “Our goal is to develop a positive image of our industry through constant exposure of positive messages.”

With over 80 people joining in the Parts & Materials Committee breakout session, Larry Jefferies kept the group firmly focused on the issues concerning choice of parts. “Our role is to be a voice for the parts segment of the industry,” says Jefferies, “and to present a balanced message on all issues.”

The strength of CCIF is that it brings all stakeholders and competitors to the table and helps them identify common goals that will benefit all stakeholders. Aftermarket and salvage parts play an important role in keeping down the cost of repairs and increasing the number of repairable vehicles. CCIF participants generated ideas and energy on how to standardize on definitions, how to identify Canada’s professional recyclers and on the benefits of improved packaging and delivery methods.

Leading into the “Open Forum” session on the full day agenda, was a presentation from Henning Norup, Vice President of Information Research and Analysis at the Insurance Bureau of Canada. He explained that the IBC was interested in researching the use of non-OEM parts from a cost reduction perspective, acknowledging that work would also need to be done on understanding the issue of quality and its impact on repair costs. Norup exposed an area where the collision repair industry might be able to work with the IBC to develop a clearer understanding of accident severity costs. While vehicle accident frequency is down, severity is increasing, so this is an important topic for all stakeholders.

Norup painted a picture of increasing challenge for the collision repair industry, with new technology in materials like aluminum and high strength steel, in telematics and even in more down-to-earth items like windshield replacement. The positive aspect of this message was in the continuing movement of collision repair away from its traditional metal bashing image to a sophisticated, high technology business which provides interest and challenge of a new type for young people making their career choices.

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