The Canadian Plastics Industry Association plans to close its Montreal office at the end of the year.
The office has underpinned CPIA's activities in the province of Quebec since it was established about 20 years ago. The office has been politically important to bridge the language and cultural gaps the province has with the rest of Canada. The closure is part of a wide-ranging organizational restructuring of Mississauga, Ontario-based CPIA.
``We're getting rid of regional offices altogether,'' said CPIA President and Chief Executive Officer Serge Lavioe. ``We will focus resources rather than maintain physical offices.''
Lavoie said his association will work with ``people on the ground'' in Quebec who will work out of home offices. And CPIA will work with any new organization that might arise in the province. But its focus will be national.
CPIA said earlier this year that it was closing its regional offices except the Montreal one. Lavoie said CPIA rethought that position, especially since it lost Quebec member companies over the firing last year of Quebec's executive director.
The firing and proposed changes to the Montreal-based structure prompted several members to resign from CPIA's Quebec board with plans to form a new Quebec-oriented association. Proponents of the new organization could not be reached for comment on its status.
Although regional offices are closing, regional committees of members can meet and have the ability to raise new funds for special projects.
CPIA listed several other changes in a statement on its Web site.
The association will develop a new processor-focused unit that will develop programs for training, networking, government relations and trade development. The unit will be concentrated on the needs of processors and their suppliers.
CPIA's Environment and Plastics Industry Council will become autonomous within CPIA. This will allow major resin producers the option of financing EPIC alone, similar to the case of the plastics division of the Washington-based American Chemistry Council in the U.S.
EPIC accounts for about 65 percent of CPIA's financial activity, Lavoie said in a telephone interview. CPIA's three major resin producers pay dues of about C$1.2 million (US$1.1 million ) annually.
CPIA plans to partner with other organizations to expand value to members. It is in talks with the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. of Washington for more cross-border cooperation. Also, CPIA will look for closer ties with the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association and other groups.
CPIA will continue to support councils with the biggest membership. They are the Composites Council, Vinyl Council of Canada and Plastic Film Manufacturers Association of Canada. Other councils will be phased out at the end of the year. Future development of councils will depend on their ability to be financially self-sustaining.
These and other initiatives are designed ``to promote and protect the plastic brand'' in Canada, CPIA said in its statement. They will allow members a say in how CPIA spends their dues.
CPIA lost some 35 percent of its Quebec membership recently due to the split with the former executive committee and for other reasons, such as consolidation, according to Lavoie. Of the 30 member companies that dropped out, most are in the Montreal area, he said.
CPIA officials will present their proposals to CPIA's board for ratification in mid-November. They culminate a two-year process of strategic review to focus scarce resources on services members value most.