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BCPIA Rebukes CPIA Claims

October 11, 2010

Marilynn Knoch, Executive Director of the BCPIA, released a scathing 2-page statement in response to the CPIA's intentions to alter its membership affiliation with provincial printing associations.

BCPIA's statement is specifically in response to a September 28 letter produced by the CPIA explaining why the national association feels it is no longer viable to require its members to first join a provincial association like the BCPIA or the OPIA in Ontario. The CPIA instead hopes to allow members to join directly, which would alter the funding for all associations.

The CPIA would not provide PrintAction with the letter sent out to its members, however, they are scheduled to vote on the issue this Thursday, October 14.

Below is the complete statement issued by the BCPIA, in response to CPIA's letter:

Members of the British Columbia Printing & Imaging Association Board (BCPIA) take exception to several points included in a September 28th letter sent out by the Canadian Printing Industries Association claiming that a dramatic decline in membership due to the economy and the lack of cooperation from regional associations like BCPIA are the cause of its financial woes.

CPIA alleges that “no alternatives were forthcoming from the FARAS” (Formally Affiliated Regional Associations). This is incorrect.

In a letter dated April 9th, BCPIA submitted several constructive suggestions CPIA could use to assist with its financial crisis. An experienced printing management member of BCPIA also took part on a CPIA Task Force but resigned in frustration when it appeared CPIA would refuse any management strategy that did not support its predetermined outcome. At its June Board meeting, CPIA did not even consider the Task Force report and recommendations of a minority report to its Task Force on an alternative strategy for maintaining a national entity.

“The decline in CPIA revenues cannot be blamed on the economy” says Marilynn Knoch, Executive Director, BCPIA. “Just like our members - all of the printing associations have faced challenges and have had to make adjustments to manage with lower revenues or program participation. The BCPIA Board has worked diligently and prudently to make sure it can operate and if the need ever arises could cover its liabilities - but our main focus is value and service for our members. The BCPIA Board asked CPIA to do the same.

BCPIA’s membership took a dip in 2002 - 2003 and we worked hard to bring it back up. Over the past few years, dues income in BC has been down only slightly due to sales revenue but the actual numbers of members, and our total budget has been relatively constant throughout the past decade.”

The most dramatic decline in membership in CPIA came in 2002 when the AAGQ (Quebec’s FARA) went out of business and closed its doors; owing CPIA a significant amount of money. In the past eight years CPIA appears to have had very little success in signing up direct members in that province. BCPIA asks what management and operational changes did CPIA employ to manage that reversal in the number of memberships in Quebec? The same questions apply to CPIA when it began offering direct membership to the Atlantic Provinces where there is no longer a regional association.

In fact, CPIA has encouraged non-FARA participation in those provinces as it allowed members to join directly (rather than through the nearest FARA) and those members have saved substantially on membership costs.

When you do the analysis - membership in the provinces where there are regional associations feeding members into CPIA show a fairly constant level in membership numbers and revenue over the past years due in great part to the activities, services and marketing initiatives offered locally by the regional associations. Those regions that have the most active Boards and members have been able to replace lost memberships with new members.
To address another point, revenues at trade shows and conferences have been declining steadily over past years as the industry itself had to do some serious belt tightening to survive in a difficult market.

CPIA booked an expensive conference in Banff for September 2010; then put it on hold for a year due to lack-lustre participation. This compounded their difficult financial situation by requiring the CPIA to pay penalties and advances to the hotel for the rescheduling of the event. There is still a likelihood that the delayed conference will not achieve break-even as the cost to attend the rescheduled 2011 conference in Banff is higher than is palatable for most businesses. CPIA continues to forge ahead despite a declining attendance trend at previous conferences.

“Nobody argues that the industry needs national advocacy,” said Knoch, “but maybe it is time to review what the industry is getting compared to what it is paying. We take exception to the way CPIA seems to be claiming sole success for its role in the passage of Bill C-9. In fact CPIA was only part of a group lead by the Canadian International Mail Association (CIMA) which worked tirelessly over a number of years to get this bill passed. BCPIA members worked with CIMA before CPIA really became involved,” added Knoch, “and we were the ones that got CPIA involved with CIMA and its letter writing campaign.”

BCPIA has demonstrated its focus is on delivering value to its members through industry resources, education, programs and services along with special access agreements to organizations such as NAPL, CME and BCPIA continues to look for opportunities to add more value for members.

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