Ottawa, Ontario -- January 16, 2017 -- Since its launch in mid-October 2016, the Canadian Collision Industry Accreditation Program (CCIAP) has grown with remarkable speed. Just this week program officials announced that over 1,000 Canadian collision facilities have been registered in the program. This is extraordinary growth over the last twelve weeks. Collision Repair magazine sat down with program administrator, Andrew Shepherd, to explore the reasons behind this as well as implications for the Canadian collision repair industry.
Collision Repair magazine: Before getting to this recent success, can you tell us how CCIAP came about?
Andrew Shepherd: We’ve all seen the appearance of OEM certified repair network programs over the past few years, particularly at the mass market level. The US was ahead in this respect by a couple of years, and in the US several private sector companies have appeared to serve these programs by accrediting repair facilities on behalf of the OEMs.
When these private sector companies decided to expand into Canada, many of our major Canadian repair network partners approached AIA Canada to create an industry-driven, industry-controlled accreditation program – hence CCIAP.
CRM: AIA doesn’t have any other accreditation programs. Is CCIAP an odd fit with the Association?
AS: Not at all. We’ve built a series of very successful services for the Canadian collision sector, starting with I-CAR Canada in 2010 and following with our management of CCIF beginning in 2014. I would emphasize that all of these, as well as CCIAP, are designed to include all collision sector partnersincluding insurers and OEMs – in strategic direction and operation. Without collaboration we are not going to succeed.
CRM: And why would your network partners look to AIA to provide an accreditation program? Why not just adopt the private sector offerings?
AS: Well, I think the central issue is control. We have a number of factors which are unique to Canada —our apprenticeship system, our bilingualism and the existence of public insurers are just a few—and these demand a Canadian approach. Depending on a US company for accreditation would mean allowing foreign control of Canadian standards. And of course as a not-for-profit association the program costs for repairers are considerably lower.
CRM: Is CCIAP similar to other certification programs?
AS: I would call it almost identical from an operational standpoint. All of these programs build a set of business, equipment and training standards for the shop to meet—the shop is audited in-person each year —and once accredited the shop receives marketing material to show to insurers and the public that they are fully qualified to undertake modern vehicle repairs.
The difference, as I mentioned earlier, is that with CCIAP the Canadian industry —including our repairers, our OEMs and our insurers—remains in control of the program guidelines and its standards.
CRM: How is that you’ve managed to recruit over 1,000 Canadian repair shops in the first twelve weeks of program operation?
AS: I’d love to claim that it’s my magnetic personality at work here, but truthfully it’s because Fix Auto, CARSTAR, Assured Automotive, Craftsman Collision and CSN have registered all of their shops into the program. I’d note also that we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the Automotive Retailers Association in BC who had already developed their own certified collision repair (CCR) program that shops accredited in one program receive similar accreditation in the other. And we were hugely gratified to see Economical Insurance go public to say that CCIAP accreditation is required for its DRP network.
CRM: What’s the future for CCIAP?
AS: We’ll continue to push the Canadian OEMs to recognize that CCIAP is the Canadian accreditation program—not only serving their quality assurance needs but also inviting them to be partners in directing the program. We’ll invest in more sophisticated marketing programs, and we’re exploring a KPI aggregator function to let shops and participating OEMs and insurers see the performance of their networks.
For more information on CCIAP, please visit cciap.ca.