CCIF’s origins can be traced back to a meeting facilitated by the Automotive Industries Association’s Paint, Body & Equipment Council in September 1998. It was attended by collision repairers, insurers, suppliers, trainers, trade associations and service providers from across the country. Three critical issues that needed addressing on a long term, strategic basis were identified:
- Attracting and Retaining Staff
- Education and Training
- Industry Image
At the September 1998 meeting, it was felt that a national voice and a catalyst for change were necessary in order to address the critical issues. There was no desire to create a body that would compete with existing industry associations or duplicate their work. Instead, it was decided to create a forum that would facilitate debate on the issues and provide an opportunity for all industry stakeholders from across the country to become involved, ie. collision repairers, insurers, suppliers, trainers, service providers, trade associations.
CCIF has become that national voice and catalyst for change, as it has drawn support and involvement from industry stakeholders across the country. Holding CCIF in different provinces brings the Forum to the people and supports the development of relationships between provincial groups that previously had little contact with each other. This has enabled CCIF participants to learn from each other and take the best ideas from across the country. CCIF has become the catalyst and promoter of the industry and is well connected to the more structured organizations such as the Automotive Industries Association, (suppliers and wholesalers), CARS Network (federally funded to support the human resource needs of the automotive repair industry), I-CAR (technical training) and the provincial trade associations, i.e. all those who have the power and resource to act on recommendations and ideas produced by CCIF participants
Since its first meeting in Edmonton in 1999, CCIF has been drawing an increasing number of stakeholders to voice their opinions, to be energized and motivated by the debates and to influence the direction of CCIF committees. Some industry professionals are only able to attend when CCIF comes to their province, but there is a core of participants, including collision repairers, who attend all CCIFs, learning how the industry operates in different parts of the country, networking with corporate managers whom they would never otherwise get the chance to meet, and building relationships with some of Canada’s leading industry professionals. Attendance at CCIF ranges from over100 to as many as 250.
CCIF operates as a volunteer body with no members, only participants. However, there are administrative and meeting venue costs to be covered and these are funded through sponsorship.
CCIF is managed by a chairman, an administrator and an advisory committee, comprising representatives from each industry stakeholder segment, from each region and from the CCIF committees.
CCIF is not an association and has no direct lobbying status. However, it provides inspiration, influence and direction to those that do.
- The first ever human resource study of the collision repair industry, “Prep for the Future” was produced in 1999 as a direct result of CCIF expressing the need to the Automotive Industries Association, which then obtained the approval and funding from HRDC to carry out the study.
- The drive for a career promotional tool, the CD-ROM “The Art of Earning” came from CCIF, which obtained resource from AIA’s Paint, Body & Equipment Council members to have it produced and distributed.
- Through discussion at CCIF, the CARS Network has developed distance learning tools to make training more accessible and flexible for collision repairers.
- An understanding of the issues regarding the use of OEM, aftermarket and recycled parts has been developed. Recyclers and aftermarket suppliers have strengthened links amongst themselves at CCIF and improved their understanding of repairers needs.
- A training data base has been established listing all training and training suppliers for the collision repair industry in Canada.
- A set of national standards for collision repairers was developed.