Canadian Council of Collision Repairers Inaugural Meeting of Advisors Minutes of Meeting

Canadian Council of Collision Repairers

Inaugural Meeting of Advisors

Minutes of Meeting

December 6, 2022

The first meeting included those who indicated they would like to be part of an ad hoc Advisory Group. Roughly 25 invitations were sent out and attendance was 12. All present identified themselves and felt this disclosure was a priority.

The meeting’s intent was to introduce “advisor” members to each other, although most were already familiar with those in attendance.

Discussion about the mission of the CCCR: Group was asked to visit the CCCR website to provide feedback on the copy to ensure the mission statements and other copy is accurate and agreed upon. Any changes are to be forwarded. In the absence of changes, the copy is assumed to be approved.

Currently, there are 99 members signed up via the website. It was discussed that numbers must double or triple, and be geographically representative, to obtain the critical mass needed to be taken seriously as a national council.

A general discussion was introduced re: the mission. It was clearly stated that professionalism must be a core value for the shops and owners.

There was discussion about how the group should be organized moving forward. Options included: performance group model; in-person meetings; continue zoom meetings and emails; geographically.

Key to the discussion was the importance of maintaining focus by including only shop owners and shop managers. It was agreed that allowing other stakeholders could easily dilute the vision and platform.

All members introduced themselves and there was discussion about how the “group” could move forward. It was decided that the group would continue to use surveys to keep attuned to items of importance and how the group would be functionally organized. The hiring of an Executive Director was also discussed and consensus felt this was not a current concern.

Select members will be given a list of approximately 100 members signed up to date. They will decide if the membership is valid.

It was suggested that the CCCR website have a password protected area for members only so discussions could take place in “semi-real-time” in a secure area. Members will only be allowed access after being vetted.

Once the list is vetted, the next survey going out will poll members re: organizational structure, meeting frequency and how the meeting will be conducted and the method to promote peer-to-peer communication (i.e. should the member list be made public to other members). It was suggested that each region in the country could have its own committee. Also discussed was the fact that members should communicate with others directly and that any concerns could be brought directly to all members by email.

Regional Representatives:

Atlantic: Kelvin Campbell

Southern Ontario: Max DiFelice

Eastern Ontario: Shawn Stenson

GTA: Jeff Pabst

Northern Ontario: Daniel Trevisanotto

Manitoba: Joel McPhail

Saskatchewan: Mike Mario

Alberta: Steve Hammond

British Columbia: Wade Bartok

Silence is consent. Please don’t be silent.

Unless you speak up, the status quo will never change. The Canadian Council of Collision Repairers is ready.



By Darryl Simmons

There’s nothing more exciting than getting a getting together a group of shop owners and managers.

One thing for certain, collision repair shop owners and operators sure are a passionate group. Since we first started talking about the possibility of a national association for shops only, the groundswell has progressed at a rapid pace. It’s obvious; the time for such a movement is now. It never was a wrong time, but its need more now than ever.

A survey conducted by Collision Repair had nearly a hundred responses stating a clear need for some sort of association for collision repairers … and only the owner/operators/managers. No offense to the other key players. Key issues identified were the standard ones that are often bandied about at a plethora of meetings. Professionalism, Industry Relations, Parts & Materials, Attraction & Retention.  But underlying was one key point: Profitability.

According to a vast number of responders, shops today are doing more work for less money. There was no one item that produced that outcome, but a plethora of little items. Concerns weren’t just about increased door rates but also increased admin time, missing line items, rising costs, delayed payments and the list goes on. It’s obvious to anyone in the industry that things can’t continue as is. And hence the need for shop owners and managers to have something of their own, somewhere to discuss common issues and hopefully common solutions.

What started as an ember has been fanned into flame. The key now is to keep things moving so it doesn’t get any chance at all to burn out. And this is why your help is needed. This group needs a critical mass of shops to add credibility and brute strength. In a group of a dozen, there is no anonymity. And in that case, there is always a fear of sticking your neck out and being in the spotlight. But in a group of hundreds, the collective overshadows the individual and there is no more fear of retribution for speaking on issues that some may be deem as sensitive. There is also no chance of being ignored by “business partners” or having issues you feel important  swept under the rug, or worse, put on hold until they are forgotten all together.

Profitability is not a bad concept. Shops that are profitable buy more products, hire more people, get more training, provide more efficient service etc. Everyone in the supply chain (auto repair economy) benefits.

Right now the group is just trying to get a legitimate critical mass. Once this happens, the voice is not of a particular shop or person, but of the collective. And this is when people can start speaking a lot more freely with fear of retribution.

Next steps will be to include the consumer driving public to be aware of what is needed to conduct safe repairs and who is capable of performing them.

This is a voice of the repairers. Not that insurers, manufacturers, suppliers, network head offices and other ancillary services are less important, but they already have platforms from which they are being serviced. Perhaps in the future there will be a seat at the table for them, but right now owner operators need to crystallize their vision in terms of a concrete mission, a clear message and a target audience.

Collision Repair magazine is the ideal communications vehicle as its mandate is to serve as the informational, education and inspirational platform for repairers. Please help get as many shop owner/operators, regardless of type of shop,  to sign on to receiving and filling out our survey so we can deliver on our unrestricted commitment to being the true and uncontested voice of collision repairers across Canada.

CCCR is an group open to all shop owner operators, be it independent, network affiliated or dealer owned.

CCCR is not a group that is anti-anything. It is not against any particular group, it’s just that it is pro-shop. If you are an owner or manager, your opinion matters. And hopefully it will be shared by others so there will be no fear of retribution.  Help create a strong message and help ensure that message is heard. Silence means consent. And that should not be the only option.

CCCR’s goal is to promote open and honest communication amongst each other to build a credible voice to speak with external stakeholders.  All comments, positive and negative are welcome as members must be able to speak out without fear of rebuke or retribution. 

Building trust amongst members is a key first step. And it’s a big one. But a strong tide raises all boats so it is to your advantage to share your opinions, even if your competitor in in the same room. By focussing on general issues in a positive way, change can take place. Change is what is needed and it has to start someplace. So why not let it start with you?

Things are moving quickly. Here’s what is happening.

This group has made very positive headway in a short period of time. And this is just the beginning.


By Darryl Simmons

A lot has happened since this initiative first started. To provide initial direction and guidance an Advisory Board was created. Composed of twenty shop owners from across the country it includes independent shops, network affiliates and MSOs.

The first action item on the agenda was to pick a name. The group is now called the Canadian Council of Collision Repairers.  It was also decided that this group should, for the time being at least, only include shop owner/operators.

The group will be dedicated to representing repairers by identifying and prioritizing business concerns and issues, education and information sharing. Its goal is to provide a positive, inclusive and nurturing platform to develop the best course of action to provide positive solutions for issues concerning its members. The mandate and mission is still a work in progress and always open for discussion. The list of members, nor the Advisory Board, will not be made public. This will remain so until such time the group decides differently.

The next step is to have an open Zoom meeting open to all shop owners, managers and operators. There will be registration, but in the meeting there will an option to remain anonymous.. The CCRC will determine their needs and sharing their concerns about the industry in a safe and anonymous (If desired) environment.

CCCR is building quite the momentum and your involvement would be a big help. Your name was recommended by one of our advisory committee as someone with a passion for bettering collision repairers and a knowledge of how to accomplish that. The CCCR is in its infancy, but has already developed into a very promising solution to the needs and concerns of Canadian shop owners and operators.

CCCRs aim is not victory, but progress and respect. As such this will not be a quick and short-lived jaunt, but long and enduring, and fulfilling journey. There is no sense in creating a lot of noise, for noise sakes. But the goal is to have a strong and stable foundation and from that build respect and trust among business partners and the consumer driving public.

Joining this group is as simple as filling out a form on the website. The only requirement at this time is a desire for a repairer-only voice to further professionalism and credibility among the consumer driving public and all other key players in the industry.


The Breaking Point: Let’s hope it doesn’t get there

The response to my last column, “The Tipping Point” was a lot greater than I had expected.




by Darryl Simmons

Thank you for sharing your concerns. Letters via email came from across the country and each one was saying the same thing. As a shop owner or manager, you know only too well the situation. There’s no reason to get into all the details. The main point is that progressive, well-trained and well-equipped shops are not making enough money based on door rates paid by the insurance companies. And the biggest problem: there always seems to be a shop willing to work for the lower rate. It’s a race to the bottom. In that race, nobody wins.

Profitability is not a dirty word. Without it, collision centres are unable to attract new people, nor are they able to invest in new training and products. Without profits, we risk the ability to safely perform vehicle repairs. The responses I received were all anonymous or asked not to be quoted. Not only is this very telling; but it is also very disconcerting and scary. It should be terrifying when an industry is afraid to speak to partners. No sector of the industry was spared from the scathing comments. Each was given some share of the blame: insurers, manufacturers, suppliers, banners and investment funds and even the media including Collision Repair magazine.

It’s crucial that the voices of these repairers not remain silent. It’s frightening to know that they felt the need to remain anonymous, that they could not stand up and say freely what was on their mind for fear of repercussions. It is painstakingly clear shop owners want to publicly air their concerns without repercussions. Yes, we do have opportunities for manufacturers, insurers and networks to get together and discuss things, but it’s the collision centres themselves that need to have a voice to speak. You are the ones doing the work and are the ones who face the customer on a daily basis.

We need your help, as readers and shopowners, to give us some direction how to initiate positive discussions with all industry partners. And these must include measurable goals. Is this something that could be done in a public meeting? Can it be done by a Zoom meeting or webinar panel? That’s the approach we are working on currently here at the magazine.

Raising awareness of the issue is important, but it’s already done. Everyone is aware. Knowing there is a problem is a good first step, but we are past that. It’s time to get some workable solutions developed. Based on the responses, we at Collision Repair are working on opening up dialogue with all partners in meaningful discussion in the hope of setting some serious changes in the works. It’s a small step, but hopefully one in the right direction.

According to one writer, I “may have bitten off more than I could chew,” when I asked for feedback. They may be right, but let’s do all we can to avoid moving “The Tipping Point” into “The Breaking Point.”

The Tipping Point: It’s time we put our heads together.

For the greater good of the industry, a national voice is needed for shop owners and managers.




I recently made a heated argument against some restaurant service staff making a case they deserve larger tips due to a decrease in wages spurred by COVID. Pardon me? Did I just hear that right? Did they really think everyone else was immune to shrinking profits?

My point was a simple one: people should be paid a decent wage for performing what is a fairly standard service. Regardless, you see tip jars on counters everywhere. It seems like any establishment offering food or beverage is basically begging for money to help them and their staff make it through these rough times.

What poppycock and nonsense! Seriously—have you not been affected by a pandemic that basically removed cars from the road for nearly two years? Add insult to injury with a glance at parts and material prices, which are moving upwards faster than the speed of an ultra-fast hardener.

There was a time, it seems so long ago now, when repairers used to get together and share their concerns. When the Canadian Collision Industry Forum (CCIF) first started, it was a revolutionary concept. Insurers, suppliers and repairers all in the same meeting…and repairers were actually listened to!

In those days there were breakout sessions where action items were not only discussed but spelled out and results were expected! At the next meeting there would be reports on each session, and woe and behold the session leader who didn’t produce some sort of results.

But, as time marched on and the consolidators and networks became more influential, the voice of the individual repairer—network or independent—has become as soft as a church mouse. Let me reiterate that you, as a repairer, should be fairly compensated for your service without the need to keep asking for more money to perform safe repairs.

The point of my little rant is to pose the question: Is it time to bring back some type of national action group, with benchmarks and expected results? A perfect example of this is the Saskatchewan Association of Automotive Repairers (SAAR). Man, under the watch and guidance of Tom Bissonnette, they seem to be getting things done. Working with their insurers—public out there in God’s country, don’t you know!—suppliers and trainers. It seems a week doesn’t go by that I don’t learn something from Tom’s weekly email to his members. And his members sure do appreciate it.

I believe something along these lines, county-wide, is needed. Send me an email or give me a call if you agree and we can start getting the wheels in motion. Or I guess the other option is you can put a tip jar on the counter.

It all starts with you. It is time to be heard

Is it time for a national association? There might be an answer at hand if we can get some momentum


by Darryl Simmons

Now that we’re basically done with the pandemic—or have at least learned how to deal with it—all shops can get back to the real issues facing their business, namely profitability, sustainability, image building and attracting more qualified personnel.

Oh, and that one item usually spoken in hushed tones, if it’s mentioned in public at all: door rates. All these items are connected; fix one and the others will start falling in line. The downside is that if we lose on one, we’ll lose on them all. Shop owners often ask me why they can’t get their rates on par with mechanical rates. I agree that they should be, and I have some opinions. It comes back to my solution above—repair the image, attract more good people to the great group here already and get better pricing based on the payor’s (read: insurer to most) newfound respect for the way your business is being run. Oh, and by the way, make sure there’s some solid, trackable training in place.

This will serve to separate those who truly want to make a positive impact from those who just want to ride the coattails of the shops putting in the work. There’s an old saying I think is appropriate here: who is going to pull the wagon if everyone wants to ride?

It’s time for each and every one of you shop owners to decide if you’re happy with the way things are or if you want to see some change. Once you’ve made this decision—and I’d be willing to bet money on which choice you’ll pick—the next step is to start talking with other people in the collision repair business who share the same challenges and issues that you do.

Currently, there is no national association that even attempts to say it serves collision repairers. We have some provincial ones doing a great job, but nothing that is countrywide, even though the challenges are universal. At Collision Repair magazine we realize there is a void and are working towards setting up a framework that will be the genesis of a national association serving the needs of Canadian collision repairers.

Most importantly, start talking about your ideas. Let your ideas out, and we’ll soon know if we are flat-out wrong or if there are others who share our goals. When we find others who agree, we’ve got the start of a solid communications chain. In the age of the internet, this is as easy as clicking a button on the www.collisionrepairbureau. com website.

We all know most people want to say something—but if truth be told, few people really have something to say. And those who do are usually quiet. Now is the time to have your say. This is how we can create a true industry voice. It starts with individual whispers and builds into some chatter. It gets louder and louder and the next thing you know, everyone is listening. And when people listen, things get done. It’s time to get things done.