A Word from the General Manager - September 2014

September 1, 2014

How can one company make any difference?

Brian Isard

This summer while I was out visiting one of our members, we had an interesting perspective on the value that association membership brings which I would like to share with you. 

‘We are a small outfit and we don’t have time to go to your meetings  or golf tournament but I like what the association is doing to help to keep us all in business. You’re good watchdogs over our industry and you keep our members’ interests front and center, always trying to inform us of what’s going on.”

Nothing could be more to the point. The CWPCA members that I met over the last few months were very busy, order books are healthier, and everyone is shorthanded. Many of the members I met were managing their businesses from the seat of a forklift so finding time to attend meetings is difficult. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t vitally concerned with what’s happening with new or proposed regulations that could affect their business.

While large organizations have dedicated personnel to monitor changes and influence regulatory agencies, many of the companies in our industry are smaller enterprises without those resources. One company banding together with others in an association is a cost effective way of keeping an eye on regulatory activities and making sure their voices are heard in the right places. Let me give you three illustrations of this approach in action.

Brussels and Rome

The world is a much smaller place these days. New regulations are being decided upon not just by our own government in 

Canada but also by overseas agencies that are affecting how wood based industries will operate in the years to come. Take note of what’s happening in the two European cities of Brussels and Rome.

A good reminder of the way our association speaks up for our industry is how we have been working together with other Canadian organizations to respond regulatory bodies that have a large influence on how the wood products industry in Canada does business. Effective October 1st, 2014 the EU phytosanitary entry requirements for certain wood products will change in a big way. You heard it first from your association and what it means to lumber exports to the European Common market countries. We explained that these changes primarily affect the lumber exporting business and we answered numerous questions about its potential impact on wood packaging. 

Your association is working with the lumber industry and federal government agencies to clearly state Canada’s objection to the European Union proposed measures and asking for delay in the implementation until we can better understand the science behind these changes. This is a high priority initiative that we are working on together.

Much of the work done in protecting our wood products export trade is done through the Canadian Forest Products Phytosanitary Working Group (CFPWG) of which I, as the CWPCA General Manager, am taking over as chairperson for the next two years. Taking on roles like this makes sure that our industry has a visibility and a voice with the decision makers.

In another European capital, the International Forest Quarantine Research Group (IFQRG) is meeting in Rome this month and our association is joining with European Federation of Wooden Pallet and Packaging Manufacturers (FEFPEB) and the National Wood Pallet and Container Association (NWPCA) in making our first ever joint presentation to address three ongoing problems with how ISPM-15 regulations are being managed around the globe:

  • Lack of harmonization wood marking schemes,
  • Interpretation and implementation problems with the repair article and multiple marking programs within national wood marking schemes
  • The need for better co-operation and communication between governments ,industry, and inspection agencies

We have heard from many members about the challenges they are having with the ISPM-15 marking programs at border crossings and we are working to take action on that front.

Strong Standards Enhance Business Reputations

Our association has really delivered excellent results in promoting wood packaging market sector development, market access, and technical knowledge in the export wood packaging one of the most very heavily regulated segment of our businesses.

We should single out the work done by the CWPCA Packaging Committee over the years to make sure the export sides of the wood packaging business are carefully nurtured. It has done stellar work over the years in both influencing legislation and industry standards by ensuring that programs such as Canadian Wood Packaging Certification Program (CWPCP) operate in a cost effective and efficient manner. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the volunteer members of that committee who have devoted countless of hours of their own time to making sure these regulations support and not harm our industry. 

Thanks to committee members past and present: Simon Trillwood- Topax Export Packaging Systems, Brian Butler- Butler& Baird, Steve McConkey- NEFAB, Doug Hunter –Pacific Pallet, Andrew Davies-Iroquois Enterprises, Roland Dufour-Groupe Savoie, and Dan Mclean of Shur-way Industries. 

To date the CWPCP program has 486 clients making it by far the largest of the 14 agencies under contract to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. The CWPCP program is well recognized for its low cost relative to other programs, ability to offer nation wide service, and its knowledgeable inspection staff from Doug Taylor & Associates that supports clients with technical knowledge in the field.

Participation in the CWPCP enhances the reputation of your company as acknowledged leaders in ISPM -15 certification of export packaging by keeping strong standards in our industry and that provides you with added credibility with both current and prospective customers.

This is where our association delivers real value to its members, in making sure that all companies in our industry have a voice at the table on influencing regulations that impact our businesses. 

PO Box 280 ,Carleton Place, ON, K7C 3P4
T. 613.521.6468 or 1.877.224.3555 F. 866.375.1835
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