WINDSOR, Ont. – Complying with all the rules that apply to producing a vehicle is no small task, and this even holds true for the businesses which build on the work of Original Equipment Manufacturers.
Attach something like a dump body or snow plow, and you’re expected to identify and certify the final product with a Canada Safety Mark. Each change has to meet applicable standards, and those who do the work must be able to issue recalls and respond to compliance audits, and familiarize themselves with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, Motor Vehicle Safety Regulations, and Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
Put another way, reaching for a welder or torque wrench is just part of the job.
The group that had about 300 members just a decade ago now has about 500 members and 1,000 delegates overall, ranging from vehicle up-fitters to trailer manufacturers.
“We’ve dramatically grown, and there is a demand for us to grow because there are more up-fitters. The economy is getting better with the NAFTA,” says Suzy Leveille, general manager.
It’s one of the reasons why CTEA is adding its voice to ongoing negotiations around the trade deal, part of a broader push to increase lobbying efforts on behalf of the industry.
“We probably sit on at least 10 associations and committees,” Leveille says, referring to roles on groups as diverse as the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Canadian Manufacturing Coalition.
Through these roles, CTEA can also better monitor the ever-shifting rules of vehicle manufacturing, and the nuanced differences that can make a big financial difference to members.
Consider the rules for rear visibility systems that have been harmonized with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 111, requiring rear vision cameras and dash monitors in light vehicles as of May 1. Vehicles manufactured in multiple stages – like those made from pickups without boxes – won’t be covered by the new rule until May 2019. But the CTEA plans to help members prepare themselves for the change when it comes.
Quarterly workshops are playing a key role in spreading news about such changes. A coming event in Red Deer on March 29 covers topics such as the importance of partnerships, how to limit liabilities, federal compliance regulations, stages of manufacturing, and compliance calculations to distribute weights, analyze payloads, and determine a center of gravity. Then there are details about the inescapable federal recordkeeping requirements, compliance label requirements, and the process to secure the all-important National Safety Marks.
As important as international trade has become to the businesses, especially when it comes to sourcing parts and components, CTEA still sees a role for a uniquely Canadian voice. Leveille also sees CTEA as something apart from the similarly named NTEA, a U.S.-based group dedicated to the work truck industry and building its own presence in Canada.
“NTEA is more small-truck oriented, medium-truck oriented,” Leveille says. “They don’t have any trailer manufacturers.”
At CTEA, she wants to ensure the voice of her Canadian members are heard.