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CCA International Business Committee Briefs

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by Daily Commercial News

Guide to U.S. business aims for fall completion

With a goal to have the Guide to Doing Business in the U.S. available to Canadian Construction Association members this fall, volunteers of the International Business Committee will review new draft content this summer.

A key component to the new guide is a section on “lessons learned,” designed to offer personal experience and insight to the ins and outs of doing business across the border.

Committee secretary and CCA president Michael Atkinson said the publication ran into a small glitch when the customs section of content could not be reviewed by the law firm which assisted CCA with its initial publication. Economic Development Canada has agreed to share a similar publication it did for inclusion in the CCA guide.

“A bigger urgency for us is to try to get together those lessons learned,” said Atkinson.

Upon discovery that the British Columbia Construction Association is doing a membership survey, Chair Dee Miller suggested perhaps the association — and any others doing similar surveying in the coming months — can include a few questions which would help identify potential story tellers for the lessons learned chapter.

The committee agreed members could also be asked about their use of foreign workers or challenges faced in facilitating workers, and whether or not they send supplies or services cross border, in addition to questions about moving equipment or personnel.

CCA will spread word on new projects

Embassies and other Canadian-run operations on foreign soil will need major renovation and improvements in the coming years. CCA wants to ensure its members are aware of the opportunities for business this could create.

CCA President Michael Atkinson told the International Business Committee that requirements currently call for all embassies or similar operations to be measured against Canadian standards. This could result in “quite a bit of work. It could be quite substantial.” The federal government recently announced the major review of Canadian buildings on foreign soil.

As an example, Atkinson said if an embassy tested its water supply and the supply met local standards but not Canadian standards, they might be forced to add a water purification system in order to comply.

In addition to any construction or upgrades, new anti-terrorism laws also call for new maintenance rules. Maintenance workers will now have to be Canadian citizens, or pre-cleared workers will have to be accompanied by Canadian officials when work is completed. Atkinson suggests that means there will be opportunities for Canadian companies to gain maintenance contracts as well.

The committee agreed to use internal and external media channels to spread the word about the potential business opportunities.

International committee proposes new award

In order to raise its profile and satisfy its marketing and awareness plans, the International Business Committee hopes to introduce a new annual award for the CCA.

Murray Aitken, who is leading up the plans, said the award criteria currently being written will be somewhat broad to allow for nomination of member companies, specific projects or programs.

The concept of an award will be presented to the Membership Committee for its input and further discussion. Aitken hopes to move the plan forward by this fall with the aim to gather nominees so the premiere award can be presented at the CCA annual meeting in Victoria in March, 2008.

CCA assists with update of international website

Since the CCA provided its services to design the original International Confederation of International Constructions Association (CICA) website, it seems only fitting the organization offered to tackle updating the site as well.

Michael Atkinson, CCA president, said there are many opportunities with the site to have the Canadian organization cross-referenced and linked, just as there is for the other associations around the world who are members of CICA.

“We’re trying to make it easier and more user-friendly,” said Atkinson.

CICA Chair Barry Brown said the new site will also add a bulletin board where members will be encouraged to dialogue with one another about challenges and ideas. Brown is the first Canadian chair of the international organization.

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