Advocacy for the Printing Industry
PrintForward is a trade association devoted to promoting and advancing the best interests of the printing industry. Advocacy for the printing industry in BC and Western Canada is one of our primary objectives – we are the voice of the industry.
In this role PrintForward represents the industry with a number of provincial and municipal government departments, agencies and crown corporations. The goal is to help make it easier for printers to do business in the Western Canadian provinces and to promote programs, guidelines and regulations that help printers compete in the global market.
Western Canada’s printing and graphic communication industry provides a fine example of entrepreneurial spirit and dedication. Many of the printing operations are family businesses, with owners, managers and employees who are committed to their local communities. PrintForward provides a catalyst to bring the common concerns and issues to the attention of policy makers and regulators.
Advocacy – Training – Affinity Programs: Important Components of Associations
Advocacy has always been an element of my career, so when I retired as Executive Director and became an Honorary Life Member of PrintForward, I chose to continue membership on the Government Affairs Committee.
PrintForward is the voice of commercial printers in British Columbia and continues to push for representation of Western Canada. To that end, over the years we have taken delegations to Victoria, met with selected ministers and the governing caucus, we have taken part in stakeholder dinners and partnered with other associations on issues that we had in common. Preparation is important so we have always prepared a comprehensive booklet featuring details about the printing industry, our issues and our proposed solutions.
Historically, the establishment of BCIT’s Graphic Communications Technology Management Program is one of our best examples of successful advocacy. The printing program at Vancouver Community College was suspended and the province was looking at restarting it at VCC. When our PrintForward delegation met with the Minister of Advanced Education, we were able to convince them to change the venue for the program. BCIT was willing, but if we had not had that meeting where the industry advocated for the change from VCC, the program would not have been established at BCIT. The industry has enjoyed access to well-trained graduates from the Graphic Communications Technology Management Program since 2006.
Currently, the Government Affairs Committee is working on another labour/training concern in the industry, entry-level support staff/labour. We have an opportunity to apply for specific training grants to address needs identified by the industry. If you have specific needs in your company, please email email@example.com.
Joining Forces Makes Us Stronger
The printing industry is relatively small in the overall manufacturing economy in the province. Therefore, we have found it beneficial to join other associations on common issues to develop a stronger, more effective voice for some issues. For example, in 2013-14 we joined with eight other associations to endeavor to slow down or review the producer-pay recycling program the province was planning to establish. Although we did not succeed in delaying that program, we did make the large corporate promoters of the program pay significantly higher lobbying costs to maintain their grip on the former provincial government. We are still watching RecycleBC (MMBC) and may lobby the current government to at least review what has transpired since May 19, 2014. After reviewing successive annual reports, we are questioning the significant annual surpluses netted by RecycleBC and still feel there needs to be more oversight and a review of what producers of print and packaging are paying.
That experience, of working together with several associations, became the blueprint for the establishment of the BC Alliance for Manufacturing in 2014 of which PrintForward is a founding member. It allowed us to build a stronger lobby for manufacturing associations with common concerns. Another component of the Alliance is a very strong educational program for entry level training.
Northwest Industries Association is Born
In mid-2019, the Northwest Industries Association was born to allow associations outside of manufacturing to take advantage of the collective advocacy, education and affinity programs. This was done to accommodate these industries that liked what the Alliance was doing. PrintForward is part of this new umbrella association. You can explore the added value this offers both PrintForward and its individual members in Thomas Foreman’s article in this issue or you can check the website at http://nwindustries.ca/.
Individual PrintForward members can increase their purchasing power for services and products common to businesses through one of the affinity programs. For example, some of PrintForward members have already found significant savings in the employee benefit plan offered through the affinity programs. We encourage you to go online at http://nwindustries.ca/affinity to explore the opportunities for your company. If you are not a member of PrintForward, this may be that special added value that you are looking for. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to join.
Advocacy concerning the new Medical Service Plan payments is an issue raised with government by the Northwest Industries Association this year. It affects all businesses. To date, the government is not listening. However, this is where our members can help us in preparing our stand. Since payment of employee MSP has now been mandatory for several months, it would be helpful to hear how this extra burden is affecting operational costs. Please share your experience with us. The government likes to see specific examples. These examples add strength to our advocacy initiatives. We can then compare those figures with healthcare costs paid by similar companies in other jurisdictions to show how it is hindering BC business competitiveness.
It may be time to do another comprehensive study of comparative footprint costs and operational costs between competitive businesses in other jurisdictions. PrintForward did such a study in 2004 comparing similar print operations in BC with those in Alberta. This assisted us in showing government that we were not always operating on a level playing field.
By the time you read this issue of PressLines, Manufacturing Month – October will have passed. However, it is not too late to share information about how important manufacturing is in the province. In British Columbia, manufacturing represents 8% to 10% of the province’s gross domestic product (GDP) and approximately 30% of the business tax revenue paid to government. Manufacturing is the second largest employer in the province’s goods producing sector with almost 13,000 companies employing almost 400,000 workers directly and indirectly. Value-added manufacturing represents almost 65% of BC’s exports.
Manufacturing matters! Commercial printing is custom manufacturing and it matters, too. Share the positive economic and environment stories of print with your customers.
What We’re Working On
Our Government Affairs includes: Rob Varnel, Chair (R & M Trade Laminating), Mark Weeks (IDRS-Data Print Mail), Mike Podmore (Datacore), Marilynn Knoch, (Honorary Life Member – Retired ED) and Jacquie McBain (Executive Director – PrintForward) PrintForward...
Our most current Government Affairs committee consists of me Jennifer McConnell (Chair) Rob Varnel, Mark Weeks, Mike Podmore , Marilynn Knoch & Katie Jackson 2018 presents a lot of activity with issues such as Steel/Aluminum tariffs; NAFTA morphing into USMCA; the...
PrintForward Government Affairs Activity 2016 Update Our Government Affairs committee is an active group and is comprised of Daryl Akin, Doug Bourne, Marilynn Knoch, Judi Koster, Gordon Taschuk, Mark Weeks, and is chaired by me (Kris Bovay). During April, May and...
Government Affairs Committee - 2015 in Review PrintForward's government affairs committee has been active at the provincial and municipal level. Here's a quick review and outlook: Last year, eight attendees represented the printing industry at the CME Deputy...
While the printing industry in British Columbia supports sustainable recycling programs in which the full life-cycle costs of a product are scrutinized, it strongly opposes the way the BC’s Ministry of Environment has established new regulations with little or no...
A strong common voice to raise the profile of manufacturing in British Columbia is the goal of the founding members of the Alliance for Manufacturing in BC. The manufacturing associations have agreed to work together to address shared issues and will endeavor to...