19 October 2010
CPIA to set up a task force to consider future
OTTAWA—At its annual meeting on October 14, CPIA members agreed that the association’s board is to set up a task force to examine how to infuse CPIA with short-term cash and present options for the association’s survival going forward.
    The CPIA had initially proposed that members vote on a motion allowing it to set up as an independent federal association, separate from provincial associations, with direct members and the ability to raise its own dues. The motion, and background material, had been sent to members before the annual meeting, outlining why CPIA felt the restructure was necessary. But, CPIA chair Dean McElhinney withdrew the motion at the meeting before members had a chance to vote on it, saying it might be more beneficial to have a discussion instead to find common ground.
    The discussion made it clear that there is broad concensus for a national organization that speaks for the industry, but opinions diverged on how to keep the current structure working.
    Under current contracts, printing companies are members of CPIA only through the FARAs, which also collect fees and remit them to CPIA. In provinces where no FARA exists, membership to the CPIA is direct. Many industry observers have described this structure as an uneasy alliance over the years giving rise to conflicting interests, communications issues, and differences about how to run a national body.
CPIA membership has been in decline in recent years with a negative impact on the association’s finances. The recession only made the situation more serious as more members fell by the wayside. Since 2002 membership has dropped off 50% to just over 300 members and in 2009 CPIA incurred a loss of $138,823, forcing it to dip into its reserves. Without an infusion of cash, it can only operate for several more months.
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