By Mike Davey
Ottawa, Ontario -- June 6, 2016 -- Shop accreditation is inevitable. Vehicles continue to increase in complexity, and training and equipment must also advance to meet this increased complexity. A new program, designed and administered by AIA Canada, promises a made-in-Canada solution to the issue of shop accreditation.
The Canadian Collision Industry Accreditation Program (CCIAP) is set to launch in the fall of 2016. Andrew Shepherd has been tagged by AIA Canada to administer the program. Shepherd is also the Executive Director of I-CAR Canada. This is an obvious advantage, as any accreditation program for the collision industry must place a significant emphasis on training.
"For 30 years, Canadians have led the world in collision repair innovation," says Shepherd. "Our industry has built franchise-based MSOs that are global leaders and we've changed CCIF from a loosely-organized industry gathering into a collaborative engine which brings together repairers, insurers, representatives of the OEMs, suppliers and educators. Through that consensus we've produced an insurer-repairer agreement on First Notice of Loss templates which is a unique prototype for the future. We've also tailored an international collision repair training program to Canadian needs, generating innovative solutions which are admired and emulated world-wide. It's time to bring the same Canadian energy to collision shop accreditation."
Shepherd notes that CCIAP puts the critical control of standards and recognition in Canadian hands. The program establishes a core shop standard for equipment, training, procedures and general business requirements. Shepherd also says the new program will match up with the programs Canada's OEMs have already put in place.
"This standard matches those developed by the vast majority of Canadian OEs," says Shepherd. " It audits Canadian repair facilities against these items as well as any unique standards from participating OEMs."
This is not the first or only shop accreditation plan in existence. However, Shepherd points out that the other programs have their roots in the US, and have been developed with that market in mind. They may therefore miss certain critical items that the Canadian-designed program does not.
"The industry is currently being offered several shop accreditation options from the US, but these have been developed for the American collision repair industry. They don't take into account Canadian realities, such as our geography, language and history, or recognize that the structure of the Canadian industry is vastly different from the US," says Shepherd. "Perhaps most importantly, they leave the control of future rules, future guidelines, future requirements, and future fees, in American hands."
CCIAP is delivered by AIA Canada, a not-for-profit industry association. Oversight will be provided by Canadian industry stakeholders with direct input from OEMs, insurers and all CCIF stakeholders.
Shepherd says the program is designed to fit Canadian needs. One advantage of this, according to Shepherd is that it will synchronize with provincial accreditation systems such as those found in BC and Manitoba. It will also serve equally in both official languages.
Another advantage is that CCIAP is designed to meet the requirements of Canadian OEMs. The program will be constantly updated to serve the Canadian market, and promises to provide OEM certified repair network administrators with on-demand views of shop performance against standards.
One obvious advantage of a program run by AIA Canada is simply that the association is a not-for-profit organization. As such, AIA Canada must deliver the program for fees that recover costs, not generate profits. Shepherd says this should help keep the program affordable.
"There is no doubt that many shop accreditation programs can and will run in the Canadian marketplace, but it is critical that one of these be Canadian-owned and Canadian-led. Only then can our shop accreditation destiny remain in our hands," says Shepherd.
For more information on the Canadian Collision Industry Accreditation Program, please contact Andrew Shepherd, Senior Director Industry Programs for AIA Canada at 1-800-808-2920 x 229 or via email to email@example.com.