TORONTO - Canada's new plastics association will form four regional offices to decentralize power. The Canadian Plastics Industry Association said it will have offices in western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, and in the Atlantic provinces when it makes its debut Jan. 1. The national office is likely to remain in Mississauga, Ontario, where the Society of the Plastics Industry Canada now resides.
CPIA will comprise a merger of SPI Canada, the Environment and Plastics Institute of Canada and the Canadian Plastics Institute. Officials announced early this year they were considering the merger. The plan became official after SPI Canada's annual meeting, held June 12 in Toronto.
Some plastics companies outside central Canada left SPI Canada or never joined because they said the association focused on issues in Ontario and Quebec, where the bulk of the industry is located. The new association wants to bring these firms into the fold - as well as the few groups such as the Canadian Association of Mold Makers in Windsor, Ontario, that formed because they felt their sectors were not getting enough attention.
``Strong partnerships among a national office and four regional offices will ensure [balance] between national industry focus and regional flexibility,'' Gerry Finn, chairman of the steering committee for the new association, said in a news release.
``This is definitely a new vision for the industry's association,'' said SPI Canada Vice President Faris Shammas. ``Down the road, we are hopeful others will join in.''
Finn, vice president of public affairs for resin supplier Nova Chemicals Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, said by telephone that the CPIA western office probably will be based in Alberta or British Columbia. SPI Canada has had an informal office in Vancouver, British Columbia, for several years.
Officials hope to decide on locations for the regional offices by fall. Mississauga is likely to be the Ontario office and Montreal probably will continue to be the association's base in Quebec. Atlantic Canada executives have begun meeting to decide where they want their region's office.
A western office ``would be useful,'' said Ed Shinewald, president of Melet Plastics Inc., a custom injection molder in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He said he would harbor no grudge if the CPIA office goes to Alberta. That province has the largest plastics industry in the West.
Shinewald said his firm was an SPI Canada member ``long ago,'' but dropped out as it joined various other groups such as the Canadian Manufacturers' Associ-ation.
``You can't join everything,'' Shinewald said by telephone, but added that his firm would consider joining CPIA after it compares the cost with the benefit.
The new association will have two standing committees that take over and expand on responsibilities now held by EPIC, CPI and various SPI Canada councils and divisions. SPI Canada President Pierre Dubois stressed that the committees will have expertise at the national and regional levels.
The Environment, Health and Safety Committee will encompass EPIC's current role, work done by the Vinyl Council of Canada, Dubois said.
The Industry Competitiveness Committee will include technology dissemination work now done by CPI, and handle trade, training and other issues.
An interim board of directors from executive committees of SPI Canada, EPIC and CPI will guide implementation of CPIA over the next six months. Finn predicted the three current associations will experience no downtime as they evolve into CPIA.