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Sam Parks

The following column by Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada Chairman Sam Parks addresses several initiatives the organization is involved in to promote and strengthen the industry. The column by Parks, owner of Camp-Out RV Centre in Stratford, Ontario, appears in the latest RVDA of Canada newsletter.

It is hard to believe that we are nearing the end of another RV selling season. The many dealers that I’ve had the opportunity to speak with throughout the country are reporting increased sales this year. This bodes well for our industry’s continued success and most businesses are optimistic about what lies on the road ahead.  

As I sit down to write this message, I realize, with sadness, that this will be my final message to you in the role of chairman. The past two years have gone remarkably quickly. It has truly been an enriching experience that has left me feeling fortunate to have had the opportunity to represent you. As association leaders, we hope to bring about positive change in some small way; to further our industry and to enable our members to flourish through education, partnerships and the development of best practices. But through it all, I realize that with my involvement, I too have gained valuable knowledge and great friendships.  

I’m sure that many of you have been following the Federal Government’s proposed changes to the small business tax structure. I wanted to let you know that we have been very active in the consultation process and we are concerned that the government’s proposed changes to the tax planning structure of small private corporations will impede economic growth. The association made a submission to the Department of Finance. Overall, the new proposed rules will increase the overall tax cost to private corporations, shareholders and their family members if enacted as proposed. The rules will have a negative impact on growth and investment in dealerships. This will hurt local economies and hurt job growth. The RVDA strongly encourages the government to reconsider the proposed tax approach. The recent announcement to reduce this proposed tax increase is a step in the right direction, however we will continue our efforts to address tax reforms at all levels. 

On Oct. 4, we had the privilege of presenting our prebudget submission to the Federal Government’s Finance Committee. For the upcoming 2018 budget, the RVDA of Canada is asking that the Federal Government to increase support for skilled workers in the RV industry. Due to the geographic constraints of the existing RV apprenticeship programs, we recommended that the government of Canada create an Apprenticeship Travel Grant that could be used by those who are required to travel in order to undertake an apprenticeship training program. This grant should be targeted towards those enrolled in programs that are not offered in their city, town or province.

We also asked the government to provide targeted and dedicated investment in camping and RV infrastructure in Canada’s national parks. Upgrades in infrastructure are essential if we want to be able to ensure the future of this industry and make it more accessible to all Canadians. Investments in infrastructure will play a critical role in the overall contributions of the tourism industry to future economic development and prosperity.

 I look forward to seeing many of you at our convention in Las Vegas. Please also make sure you join us for our annual meeting on Wednesday morning. This year, we will feature Michelle Dagnino, Generation Y engagement expert. This is the place to be if you want to learn more about working with Millennials and how to manage a multi-generation workforce. We will also be unveiling the 2017 RV Dealer of the Year in a presentation by Camping Canada’s RV Lifestyle Magazine and Camping Canada’s Dealer News.  

To Eleonore, Anita and Amee, a huge shout out of appreciation for all that is accomplished via their efforts. I am very proud of the commitment and energy each of them brings to the success of the RVDA of Canada.

In closing, I would like to share these final thoughts. I have had the pleasure of working with and learning from my provincial and national boards and members like you. Each one of these individuals has contributed to the growth, development and strength of our associations of today. I would compare these members to the musicians in an orchestra: Each musician to be heard, yet much stronger as a group. We need you to assist with orchestrating the future of the RV industry in Canada. Join a committee. Represent your provincial association. Let your voice trumpet loudly. 

Thank you for the rewarding experience and an exceptional opportunity.