A Word from the General Manager - June 2015

June 1, 2015

Wood Packaging Industry Issues & Initiatives

What your association is working on?

Brian Isard

Let me share with you an update on the past year’s activities of our Board of Directors, staff and committees, that was presented at our Annual General Meeting held last month in Toronto.

In 2014 we have added 6 new members to the association and 24 new clients to the HT program. Over the last year we have been extremely productive in advancing our association in several key areas.

CFIA Relations

The federal government is downsizing a number of its departments under the Deficit Reduction Action Plan and continues to outsource certain functions previously done by federal employees. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is modernizing their regulatory systems and changing their approach to emphasize more of industry's involvement in the management of phytosanitary regulations and how those standards are adhered to, which is critical to accessing global markets with Canadian wood products.  If you want to read more about it click here

A great deal of our time this past year has been spent demonstrating to the federal government that as the body that represents our industry, through the Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP), CWPCA has the organizational integrity and quality management focus to properly take on these new outsourced responsibilities. 

Your Association has worked aggressively to deliver results on several key initiatives such as the collection of CFIA registration fees, the automation of the field based inspection program, and research work in support of the drafting of D-13-01, the new directive for the HT Program. 

Since these changes will govern how our industry operates for the foreseeable future it is important that we make sure the interests of the wood packaging sector are properly looked after. Broadly speaking the CFIA will retain responsibility to develop regulations and manage oversight of the industry “self-monitoring” inspection process. The “self -monitoring process” requires industry to work with CFIA to ensure compliance with regulations and conduct surveillance of market demands for domestic and exported wood products.

Taking on this responsibility for “self-monitoring” is a first for the wood packaging industry in Canada as well as globally. Let’s show everyone that we can do it and do it right. That means strong standards are in place backed up by a cost effective service delivery program across Canada to ensure our quality programs are second to none in the global market place.

In 2015, our efforts will be directed towards communicating the new regulations to program clients, upgrading training of our field inspection team, and preparing the infrastructure to handle the higher frequency of field inspections as mandated in the new policy directive D-13-01.

Our Sustainability Program 

Two gross misrepresentations of our industry are being pushed in the marketplace by companies using alternative materials: that wood packaging ends up as landfill and that it contributes to overharvesting of our nation’s forests. 

The facts are that wood packaging is no longer a significant waste issue in municipal solid waste sites because of the success in reusing and recycling wood packaging as verified in 2014 State of Waste in Canada. 

Furthermore, the wood packaging industry makes good use of every part of a harvested tree, from smaller logs and offcuts from construction grade timber which ensures that the whole log is fully used –a highly efficient model of resource management.

The positive sustainable attributes of our industry need to be communicated both to help our customers and the public understand that wood packaging is made from a renewable and sustainable resource and to demonstrate that the Canadian wood packaging industry operates in an environmentally sustainable manner.

In 2014 we began the groundwork on what we need to do to confront these challenges and get the truth out about our industry practices. Ours is very much a North American marketplace and to have any impact whatsoever we need to form partnerships with our American counterparts. We have begun work with the National Wooden Pallet and Container Association to develop Nature’s Packaging, a joint initiative that will promote wood packaging and pallets as a sustainable resource and the environmental benefits of wood packaging. We have committed $60,000 of association member’s funds over the next five years to make this a reality. 

This year we have formed the Nature’s Packaging Task Force are Martin Balcome (BMI Ltd.), Phil Leblanc (Ressources Lumber), Marc Patrick Tame (Herwood Inc), Jeff Doman (CHEP Canada), and Rob Anderson (St.Boniface Pallet). This committee, along with a similar team from the NWPCA, will work on establishing a dedicated website you can link your business to with downloadable bilingual communications materials and research material that our members can use with their customers to demonstrate the environmental benefits of wood packaging . 

Another element of sustainability is promoting safe workplaces that are injury and illness free. The CWPCA has started a Virtual Safety Group for the wood packaging industry targeted to small to medium sized businesses and focused on improving plant safety in the industry. Supported by professional safety consultants, the Workplace Prevention and Safety Services, in 2014 we have developed five modules and training webinars around: nail gun safety, equipment guarding, lock out tag out, forklift safety, and ergonomics that are available to members through the CWPCA website. This year we plan to construct additional modules around disability management and fire prevention safety.

Industry Promotion 

We have developed new initiatives which promote the attributes of our industry to the general public and our members:

  • We have hired Accurate Communications to provide professional advice on marketing the HT Program, to develop public awareness of the export wood packaging industry and promotion of value our Association has to both current and new members. 
  • Joined Canadian International Freight Forwarders Association to reach out and promote the certified wood packaging to Canadian exporters. 
  • We invested in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help the HT Program be found in online searches to attract new clients and to better inform exporters of the wood packaging certification program. 
  • Invested in Hootsuite to manage our social media presence where we now have 314 followers on our Twitter feed.
  • Begun to develop bilingual capability on our website.
  • Improved the timeliness and accuracy of the monthly Lumber Pricing Trends.

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T. 613.521.6468 or 1.877.224.3555 F. 866.375.1835
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