Fall Festivities: SAAR’s Fall Conference proves a smashing success

The Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers (SAAR) held its annual Fall Conference on September 11 and 12, featuring a host of helpful sessions for the Prairie province’s collision repairers.

This year’s Fall Conference was held both in-person and online as SAAR executive director Tom Bissonnette led the event. Sessions were broadcasted via Zoom for all attendees to enjoy.

Fall festivities ramped up with a meeting between SAAR and Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) executives Ciaran Downes, senior director of national appraisal operations for SGI, Ryan Smith, vice president of SGI’s claims and salvage operations, and Lyle Andrusiask, director of appraisal image audit and accreditation.

The team took two hours to discuss ImageDesk audits while answering questions on the Safe and Quality Repair Program, which requires Saskatchewan facilities to reach I-CAR Canada Gold Class certification by Mar. 1, 2021, in case they suffer slashes to labour rates.

Currently, SGI has no plans to extend the deadline for Gold Class accreditation.

During his session, I-CAR Canada director Andrew Shepherd started the Saturday session by delivering a brief update on the province’s progress toward I-CAR Gold certification and delivered surprising stats on how many shops have yet to hit Gold Class status.

According to I-CAR Canada, 25 facilities have reached Gold Class certification and 19 have met Gold Class Aluminum standards, while a further 10 stands at ‘Gold Class in Progress’ status.

Nonetheless, Shepherd has few fears that those still seeking the seal will meet it come March. He says, the required program can be completed in as little as six weeks.

“We’re on the doorstep,” said Shepherd.

A few shop owners shared their concerns about securing their spots in the welding classes required for the certification.

Fortunately, Saskatchewan Polytechnic is prepared to offer COVID-compliant welding courses to help those still reaching for Gold Class meet their goal come March.

The college has resumed on-campus training, and instructors will be working seven days a week to help facilities reach their Gold Class certs.

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