• Accredited certification delivers real value

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    June 21, 2017

    Since its inception in 2014 and borne from common thinking that the industry needs a national voice, CVA has worked alongside elected officials, bureaucrats and industry stakeholders at all three levels of government to seek and establish fair, reasonable and equitable regulation for the vapor product industry. Supported by hundreds of vapor product shops and manufacturers across Canada, CVA is the only national voice for vape product shop owners, vapor advocates and manufacturers of vape products. CVA has moved the industry from an early perception of a “grey market” industry to recognition by the government for its leadership in the promotion of harm reduction.
    CVA is proud to announce, it has committed to developing accreditation and certification programs for vape product shops and other industry partners in Canada. This process includes many elements, such as developing the content and modules, choosing a certification testing process, and defining benefit derived from the certification process for vape product shop owners, staff, consumers and regulators.
    Our industry is comprised of businesses of all sizes, operating across a diverse range of national markets. While the majority of these businesses are very responsible for managing quality within their own organizations, we, as the industry, must take up the mantel of leadership to better define best practices and knowledge sharing. This indicates to regulators, stakeholders and the public that the value of certification is recognized across the spectrum of the industry, beyond the traditional quality management arena.
    The time is now and driven by why - why this is important to our membership; why stakeholders expect it from us; and why this initiative is critical for our industry. Context regarding the vape industry is important.  When we, as an industry, came together 4 years ago, the general perception of vape product shops and e-liquid manufacturers was closer to “head shops” than professional organizations and responsible retailers.  This perception, in many circles, still remains, underscored by the CBC article about a 9-year old being sent to hospital after drinking “e-cigarette fluid”. 
    As legislation and regulation approaches, both federally and provincially, your future, and the industry’s future, is at stake.   It is our responsibility to show that we are a committed, responsible, mature and forward thinking stakeholder, that clearly understands that it is a privilege to serve the needs of Canadian consumers looking for a less harmful alternative to smoking and to support the harm reduction goals of the Canadian Government.
    By being proactive and preventative, rather than reactive, CVA will serve to ensure the viability of the industry.  This is our time.  We have come a long way by positioning our industry knowledge through our CVA Board, government relations experts and top regulatory and legal minds, who have focused not on the status quo but on what’s in the best interests of Canadians.
    Organizations, such as the Canadian Convenience Store Association, do not want to recognize or support the value that vape product shops bring to consumers – our principles of adult only access to protect children, education, product expertise and specialized services - which are the basis of our differentiation and value.
    Accreditation and certification will reinforce these qualifications.  Once legislation and regulations are fully in place, unless vape shops take action to reinforce the differentiation from c-stores via certification and accreditation, the sheer ubiquity of convenience stores, gas stations, etc. will allow them to thrive at the expense of vape shops.
    Let there be no question, lower barriers to entry will triple that market size while seeing vape product shops lose 100% of their market share, based on the buying power of the c-store channel and market footprint.
    CVA leadership sees this as a positive step for the industry, as the accreditation development process invests a significant amount of time, resources and thought leadership in raising awareness of the benefits of accredited certification among businesses, government and regulators to support our mission as leaders in public policy development.
    CVA’s leadership have analyzed the landscape and have developed this strategy to combat the false perception of an illegal or “grey market” and have provided this platform as the most effective way to demonstrate that we are legitimate and responsible owners/operators with the best skillsets to serve and protect consumers. 
    Lastly, it’s a clear expectation from decision makers and stakeholders that we, as an industry, play a pivotal role in consumer education and protection. The examples of legislation such as in Quebec and in Europe through the TPD, illustrate the importance of being proactive.
    Working through accreditation, we can help you avoid costly mistakes in a newly regulated environment. With regulation will come real and punitive consequences, which could potentially see owners fined by unknowingly contravening the regulations, such as by making health or cessation claims.
    The reality is that the industry is being regulated.  As an industry, we must step up and be the first to participate in the effective practice of the regulations via programs like accreditation and certification.  The risks of not doing so are too great for the future of our industry and to individual shop owners.
    In summary, the development of certification program will add real value to your organization. As a more quantifiable measure, you can expect:
    • To be recognized and differentiated from other potential distribution channels
    • Internal business operations improvement
    • Increased customer satisfaction
    • New marketing opportunities based on our business values
    • Leadership in a national regulatory environment
    • Avoiding costly regulatory missteps
    • Ultimately leading to increased sales as an organization
    Given these positive fundamentals, CVA is confident that we are providing both value for money and for human capital investment. Taken together, certification is something that CVA is choosing to develop not only to provide and increase customer and government confidence but also to ensure the future viability of vape shops against a potential backdrop of the c-store channel capturing 100% market share.
    Our sense of urgency, commitment and expertise continues to demonstrate that we are the “National Stakeholder” and the recognized voice of the industry.
    Darryl Tempest
    Executive Director
    The Canadian Vaping Association 

    Darryl Tempest, Executive Director

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