Auto Service World
Feature   April 1, 2001   by Bob Blans


The ironic part of AIA’s lobbying efforts in Ottawa back in February is that it may have benefited MPs as much as the industry.

Sandy Ross, Alexander Auto Parts, Downsview, Ont. chairman of the AIA Central Ontario Division, says it has changed his opinion about MPs for the better.

“From the way they are portrayed on television you get the idea that they are a group of people that don’t know what is going on in this country. Meeting some of them has changed my perspective,” Sandy explains. He also had high praise for AIA staff involved in organizing the event. “They did a super job.”

It is refreshing to learn that the MPs are listening and we are hopeful that they will continue to address the tool tax issue and the anticipated shortage of 12,000 new service technicians across Canada over the next two years.

As important as it was, though, the event was just one of many held during February and March.


Peter Gilchrist notes UAP/NAPA Pacific Region owners attended a two-day conference and supplier show at the Coast-Capri Hotel in Kelowna, B.C. In all, 30 stores were represented and approximately 40 parts and equipment suppliers took part in the show. Gilchrist also notes that Department of Transport inspectors have been busy calling on jobbers in the Kootenays and Okanagan Valley to enforce regulations related to the transportation of dangerous goods. He says one jobber was threatened with closure because there was no certified person employed at the store. The jobber immediately ordered Transportation of Dangerous Goods course materials from AIA to satisfy the inspectors.

AIA Northern Alberta Division held a breakfast meeting in Edmonton in February. Automotive analyst Dennis DesRosiers was the featured speaker. Division representative Doug Dawson reports that 55 wholesalers attended. DesRosiers was also the guest speaker at the Central Ontario Division meeting, which close to 50 people attended. Both divisions reported that DesRosiers’ presentation was excellent and very enlightening to players in the Canadian automotive aftermarket. They said that he didn’t dazzle them with statistics, but provided them with more of his personal insights about the future of the industry.

Bernard Caza, chairman of the Northern Ontario Division, is rallying the troops. The division scheduled a meeting for March 27 at the Holiday Inn in Sudbury with an action-packed agenda, including an Interactive Distance Learning presentation by CARS and a Training Solutions presentation for installers. To top it all off, an address by AIA chairman Randy Moore on the importance of participation by members in Northern Ontario was planned. The Northern Ontario Division, like some of the divisions in Western Canada, has geography issues to contend with; members are spread out and it is hard to find a central meeting location that is convenient for everyone.

If you haven’t decided whether or not to attend the AIA’s Annual Convention in Penticton, B.C., now is the time to do it! May 30, 2001 is not all that far away. It offers business and social activities you don’t want to miss.

Note: If you have any information to contribute to this column please call Bob Blans at (905) 844-8616, Fax (905) 844-8731, E-Mail to or write to Across Canada Report c/o Jobber News Magazine, 1450 Don Mills Rd., Don Mills, ON M3B 2X7. In addition to AIA Division activities we are interested in hearing from you about the opening of a new business, change of ownership, expansions etc.

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