Launched in January 2012, the growth of the Canadian Committee has been one of the greatest successes of the International Automotive Remarketing Association (IARA).
The committee’s primary mission is to encourage professional development and education within the Canadian remarketing industry. The committee consists of 34 members with Richard Pasta (Carfax) and Eric Janca (SCI Lease Corp) serving as co-chairs.
Primary accomplishments during the past five years included an effort to “Canadianize” the IARA CAR program to match the unique differences between Canada and the U.S., said committee Co-Chair Richard Pasta.
While the CAR Program started in 2007, its 400 pages of curriculum was based on U.S. standards, terminology, and ethics. It took the Canadian Committee about 10 months to go through each of the 20 modules and launch their own CAR program in 2018. To date, 34 Canada-based members hold CAR certification.
Xavier Kleinermann (Honda Canada) heads up publicity and PR for the group. “There was a lot of interest in the CAR program, but it contained a lot of content that just wasn’t relevant.” The committee set out to tweak each module to address laws and content of the CAR program that were not relevant to Canada. “It was a big ask from the Canadian members, and we delivered on that one,” Pasta said.
During the past five years, membership communication has been greatly improved with efforts from Kleinermann who has embraced social media and email blasts. The latter has been standardized from messages that were sent by committee co-chairs using their own email addresses to email messages now sent through an official IARA email channel in a specific professional format, with the required legal verbiage for mass emails.
This gives the committee the ability to track emails, see who reads them, measure how much time is spent reading them, and what links are clicked. This helps tailor future content to the membership, Kleinermann said. Much of the content is reposted on LinkedIn, which is where most of the members prefer to find it. The committee also has Twitter and Facebook accounts.
The IARA website was modified to include a special subset of content exclusive to Canadian members and issues. The website is constantly updated to make improvements and add value with content and member interviews. The committee has also created a newsletter for members.
The committee has not met in person since March 2020 when the pandemic arrived with a vengeance literally days after the committee’s first quarterly meeting took place.
“Everyone was scrambling with so many unknowns and uncertainties, and I think there was a shining moment for us,” Pasta said. “Our members, and the industry, were looking for guidance and answers to the unknown.”
The committee provided state of the industry updates on multiple occasions to consignors that included interactive sessions to share and discuss some of the challenges the industry was facing and how they were being handled. While the meetings were all virtual, the pandemic seemed to bring members closer, Pasta said. The committee provided tremendous value and boosted the value of IARA in those tough times.
After the first two months of the pandemic, the committee implemented virtual roundtable conferences, especially for the consignors. The committee received positive feedback as they helped everyone through the initial phase of the pandemic. The committee hopes to return to in-person quarterly meetings in 2022.
The pandemic also interrupted a relationship with Automotive Remarketing Canada. The Canadian Committee has presented awards at the AR Canada Conference for more than a decade as well as participating in workshops and seminars. Since the pandemic’s arrival, workshops and seminars have continued virtually.
The Canadian Committee sets annual goals each year, and some of those goals are filtered to sub-committees within the committee. The sub-committees also set goals for themselves. While the Canadian Committee is technically a committee of the IARA, Pasta likens their position in the industry to Honda USA and Honda Canada. They are one family, but operate differently based upon geographic locations.
“While we work together with IARA U.S., we host our own events like two organizations under one umbrella,” Pasta said.
Kleinermann said the committee will continue to create a standardization of the Canadian remarketing industry and awareness about remarketing, which is a big unknown for many people.
“One of the big missions of IARA and IARA’s Canadian Committee is to show the value of remarketing for different sides of the business,” Kleinermann said. There is much value in remarketing that is unknown in the automotive industry, he added.
The committee also plans to address the different laws and regulations among the provinces in the future. Various laws and language can be confusing and require additional support, which includes growing the membership footprint base from coast-to-coast. All meetings are hosted in Ontario and the committee seeks to expand regionally.
Moving forward, the IARA and the Canadian Committee will have a big role to help members and the industry through many challenges. “The automotive industry is going through some of the biggest changes we’ve seen since World War II,” Kleinermann said. ■
Note: This article appeared in the IARA 20th Anniversary Commemorative Issue published in November 2021.