Effective lobbying efforts

The ARA — meeting in Parksville — represents members from many different auto-related sectors

Vic Andrushko of Fix Auto Parksville recently joined the Automobile Retailer’s Association of B.C.

When it comes to lobbying on behalf of its 1,000 members, the Automotive Retailers Association of B.C. gets results.

The ARA has a general meeting scheduled for The Beach Club in Parksville on May 6 (6:30 p.m.). Bluenose Motor Company owner Al Cameron is the the vice-chair of the association’s board of directors.

Cameron pointed to a recent issue where ARA members lobbied every MLA in the province when word came that ICBC was considering a shift to allow only one company province-wide to handle ICBC glass-repair jobs.

The ARA has eight different divisions of members, from repair shops to towing companies, and auto glass operations. The shift in policy ICBC was considering would have had a negative effect on many ARA members, independent auto-glass repair shops, said Cameron.

After the lobby effort (Cameron said it was the job of himself and Terminal Auto Body’s Mark Descoteau to speak with Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell), Transportation Minister Todd Stone announced ICBC was backing off on that glass-repair plan.

“That was the result of our (ARA members’) grassroots campaign,” said Cameron. “Every single MLA in the province heard the same message. (The ARA) is our voice when it comes to lobbying the government.”

ARA president Ken McCormack will be the keynote speaker at the meeting on May 6. The ARA lists its core commitments as “industry advocacy and leadership, group health insurance and preferred vendor discount programs, knowledge and information, development and training, and promotion of business excellence.”

Cameron said his ARA membership has helped his company provide a good benefits plan for his employees.

“No one can get the kind of plan we got through the ARA,” he said, adding there are many other benefits of ARA membership, not the least of which is gained through networking with other industry professionals.

“I learn a lot from other shop owners and operators.”

The meeting May 6 is open to members and non-members alike. For more information about the ARA, visit: www.ara.bc.ca.

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