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RVDA of Canada Chair Foresees Brighter Future

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November 18, 2016 by   Leave a Comment

Sam Parks

Sam Parks

During his chairman remarks at the RVDA of Canada annual meeting held in conjunction with the 2016 RV Dealers International Convention/Expo at Bally’s in Las Vegas, Sam Parks of Camp-Out RV in Stratford, Ontario, said certain signs indicate that the country’s sluggish RV industry is poised for a recovery.

Speaking to a contingent of more than 112 Canadian delegates representing 34 dealerships, Parks acknowledged the Canadian RV industry has been “softer than what we would like.” Pointing to year-to-date sales that were 12% lower than the first nine months of 2015, Parks mentioned one reason might be purchase prices inching up for most of this year in the context of a weaker Canadian dollar.

“The good news is that sales reports from the fall Open House and preliminary registrations for Louisville are up. And in October, at the Fall RV Show in Toronto, sales came in at just over $10 million, which is a 37% increase over year prior. RVers continue to enthusiastically embrace the lifestyle and we anticipate that 2017 will see growth,” said Parks, who remains as chair for the 2017 year. In fact, all but one member of the RVDA of Canada’s board of directors remain in their positions.

The upbeat forecast was one of several topics Parks addressed during his remarks. Parks also updated attendees on the group’s efforts to curb the push by the Canadian American Business Council to raise “de minimis rates,” which would increase the tax-free threshold for imported products from $20 to $200.

Represented by Dan Merkowsky, executive vice president of the RVDA of Alberta, the RVDA of Canada appeared on Oct. 4 before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance in Edmonton, Alberta, as part of the pre-budget consultations for the 2017 Federal Budget. Merkowsky spoke to the industry’s concerns over raising de minimis rates, as well as the need for greater investment in infrastructure at Canadian National Parks.

“The RVDA Canada is now in a good position given our recent presentation at the pre-budget consultation hearings in Edmonton. However, the de minimis issue is top priority for many corporations and organizations across the country. While we do have allies in many Canadian associations, we are facing major opposition from large companies such as Amazon,” reported Parks, who encouraged attendees to contact their local members of Parliament regarding this important issue.

In addition, Parks reminded everyone that the RVDA of Canada’s Annual Advocacy Day and Parliamentary Reception will be April 5-6, 2017, held in cooperation with the Canadian Camping and RV Council (CCRVC) to promote issues that matter most to the camping and RVing industry throughout Canada.

Also, Parks related the RVDA of Canada’s $200,000 investment in the Education and Human Resources Committee, whose goal is to facilitate a variety of training, recruitment, HR, and educational programs covering all areas of an RV dealership for RV dealers across Canada.

Finally, Parks also touched on the organization’s 30th anniversary celebration last August at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart as well as its upcoming 20th Annual Canada Night Dinner at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, which will be Nov. 28 at the Galt House Hotel.

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