Editor’s Note: The following are annual reports compiled by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Canada that were submitted by its members in each province. The report appeared in the fall issue of The RV Compass magazine.
British Columbia RVDA boosted its membership to 96 in 2008 and continued to look for new avenues to promote RV career and technician training. The association continues to work with Okanagan College by providing support at career fairs to attract new people to the industry. It assisted at the RV owners Lifestyle Seminars in June, where 141 people attended. The annual meeting was in September at the Delta Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops, B.C. The 2009 Canadian RV & Camping Convention will be Nov. 5-8 in Victoria, B.C.
Alberta RVDA entered 2008-2009 with strong leadership from the board, the support of its members and a new executive vice president. The association is dealing with an increase in “non-dealer” sales from the U.S. as well as lobbying the provincial government for support to increase camping spaces in Alberta. New space at the satellite training facilities in Edmonton and Calgary has allowed the industry to more than double the number of apprentices from 72 to 156 for the 2008-2009 year with potential increases each year. The provincial government has agreed to fund $500,000 toward the expansion and upgrading of the Calgary training facility at no cost to the industry. The association will sponsor a Spader Service Writing Workshop Feb. 24-26 in Nisku Inn in Edmonton. The association will conduct three RV shows early in 2009: Jan. 29 to Feb. 1 in Calgary, Feb. 5 to 8 in Edmonton and Feb. 13-16 in Red Deer. Ross Hodgins of RV City in Morinville was elected 2008 member of the year, and the 2007-2008 supplier of the year was Doug Crafton from Carmanah Technologies Corp. in Calgary. The annual meeting was in October in Jasper. The association had a long-term strategic planning session before the conference with past presidents and present board members. Alberta RVDA hired a new executive vice president, Dan Merkowsky, in April 2008.
Saskatchewan RVDA has 25 dealer members and 14 associate members. The association sponsored a Spader Service Workshop for December and is looking into other workshops that are available through Spader. The service seminar was held in January 2008 at Village RV in Regina and was attended by more than 40 technicians across the province. The annual meeting was in August in Saskatoon.
Manitoba RVDA reported on several educational accomplishments in 2008. They include the National RV Technician Service Seminar, coordinated by RVDA of British Columbia, which was held in January 2008, with 31 technicians attending. Members continue to take advantage of the many courses offered by the Florida RV Trade Association. RVDA of Manitoba now has six Red Seal designated technicians. The annual Manitoba RV Show was held Feb. 28 to March 2, 2008, in Winnipeg. The 2009 show will be held March 5-8. The RVDA of Manitoba continues to work with the Office of the Fire Commissioner to bring about a mandatory safety inspection of all new and used RVs prior to their sale. The association donated $3,660 to the Childhood Cancer Foundation-Candlelighters Canada from funds raised at the annual golf tournament.
Ontario RVDA conducted four successful RV shows in 2008 and added a fifth for 2009. The Toronto spring show now encompasses almost 400,000 square feet and the Toronto fall show is at 200,000 square feet. Hamilton continued its two-floor venue, and Kitchener’s show grew by 10%. The new Windsor RV show will be staged in February. The association conducted its first Propane Certification Training Course in 2008. This led to a joint training course with the Alberta RVDA. Perhaps the greatest endeavor in 2008 was the purchase and relocation of the ORVDA office to a 150-year-old stone facility in Freelton, Ontario, which provides ample room for growth and a classroom. The 2008 general meeting included a roundtable discussion on propane and electrical regulations and enforcements, distance learning and RV learning center options for dealer education. Dave Christie of Christie’s RV in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., was named Dealer of the Year and Rob Edwards of Coast Distribution in Orillia, Ont., was named Associate of the Year.
Quebec RVDA restructured its head office in 2008 and hired Danielle Godbout as executive director in April 2008. To commemorate its 20th anniversary the association sponsored a contest to design a new logo. The association’s website was overhauled in 2008. The site is updated regularly and has turned out to be an essential tool, both for the members and for their customers. RVDA of Quebec also is participating in a television series that highlights prime RV sites in North America. On each show, the association will present an information capsule aimed at RV owners. Thirteen shows will be aired five times a week for three years. RVDA of Quebec also successfully lobbied the provincial government to amend the regulation on tires designed for winter driving so that RVers are not required to install winter tires on their RVs. RVers can be exempted by obtaining a certificate (valid for seven days)) that will allow them to pass through Quebec. The Montreal and Quebec City RV shows generated more than $21 million in the sale of 916 units. The 20th annual convention was held in August at the Montreal Bonaventure Hilton.
Atlantic RVDA conducted two successful RV shows in 2008, in Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the spring, ARVDA conducted a propane gas certification course, the first of its kind in the region. The course demonstrates the association’s commitment to support its dealers’ training needs. The annual meeting was in September in Liverpool, New Brunswick.