Collision Repair – Gaining a Firmer Foothold within AIA Canada

At the most recent AIA Canada National Conference, the aftermarket sector gathered to focus on topical issues with the aim to convert challenges into opportunities that will drive the growth and success of the industry. It was a full day packed with insightful sessions touching on industry trends, innovation, labour, AI.

Collision Repair Representation

It is important to note that other players in the automotive aftermarket sector actively engage with the AIA through various channels. AIA has a strong team and resources with several capabilities available to its members, presenting significant opportunities for the collision industry. Ryan Bruno, the current Chair of AIA and CEO and President of CSN Collision, has expressed his thoughts on the industry’s underutilisation of the association’s resources. Ryan believes that there is an opportunity for the collision industry to increase its engagement with AIA, which would enhance its influence and reach. AIA’s ability to advocate for the needs of the collision repair industry would be strengthened with greater industry representation.

Awareness of AIA among auto body shops is currently low. Failure to recognize the available resources that can drive the industry forward and improve overall business is a missed opportunity. The aftermarket sector is rapidly evolving, with innovation, different supply chain models, and consolidations taking place. Attending AIA events allows collision repair shops to gain exposure to diverse perspectives, expand their network, and approach challenges with a different mindset and greater agility.

Bridging the Gap for CSN Auto Body Shops

  • AIA Labour Market reports were distributed to the CSN network. With talent shortage being a focal point at the AIA conference, Ryan Bruno shed more light on the strategy behind the AIA labour market reports. He emphasized that the purpose of the labor market research was to identify the reasons behind the shortage of skilled technicians in the industry. The goal was to understand why people were not entering the industry and where they were choosing to work instead of collision repair. The ultimate aim is to develop effective solutions based on successful strategies from other markets.
  • CSN is taking steps to connect the network with AIA representatives. President and CEO of AIA, Jean-François Champagne and other AIA representatives have attended CSN events to raise awareness among the network about the benefits of a stronger engagement with the AIA.
  • The CSN Collision marketing team publishes industry events on the Licensee Portal and sends event reminders to the shops through the monthly newsletters to encourage attendance. 

With the AIA Canada National Conference in the rearview mirror, an anecdote comes to mind about the behaviours of cattle and buffalo in the face of a storm. The cattle expend energy heading in the opposite direction, eventually getting caught up in the storm for longer, while, from the jump, the buffalo head towards the storm to fight through it in order to get to the other side quicker. Change is hard, but if we can address it more quickly and directly, we will get through the tough times faster and benefit from the opportunity that change brings.

Missed the conference? Catch up on what was covered:


  • Driving innovation: The here, now, and next of Canada’s auto care sector with AIA Canada

Jean-François Champagne, CAE, President and CEO, AIA Canada launched the session with an in-depth understanding of the association, its purpose and impact within the sector.

  • Shift happens: Mastering change in Canada’s auto care sector

Daryl Benton, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Automotive Aftermarket, MANN+HUMMEL shared from his experience driving transformational strategies. Daryl provided applied and personalised insights on steps towards effective change management within organisations and the industry.

  • The impact of the evolving vehicle fleet on vehicles in operation and vehicle kilometres travelled

With the ongoing changes in vehicle technology and the push to reduce emissions, the Canadian vehicle fleet is evolving. Todd Campau from S&P Global Mobility provided insight into the impact of these changes on businesses in the coming years.

  • How auto service retailers can win the AI revolution and why human creativity is the key

Doug Stephens, Founder and CEO of Retail Prophet, known for his expertise on the future of retail delved into AI by discussing how businesses will gain a competitive edge in a future where AI is central to retail.


  • Overcoming labour market challenges in the industry: Current and future opportunities

The panel, moderated by James Channer, COO of In Motion Brands, included Alan McClelland, RSE, Dean of the School of Transportation at Centennial College, Shannon Spano, Vice President of Sales at Wakefield Canada, Kevin Weaver, President and CEO of Georgian College, and Dr. Mauricio Zelaya, EY Canada Partner & National Economics Leader, EY Canada. The panelists discussed research findings on the labor market conducted by Ernst & Young in collaboration with AIA Canada. They engaged in thought-provoking conversations focused on attracting new talent and promoting skill development among the current workforce.

  • Creating an inclusive industry for women in the auto care sector

Stacey Miller, VP of Communications at the Auto Care Association, highlighted the gender imbalance in the automotive industry, where women make up only a quarter of the workforce. A Deloitte study found that nearly 50% of women surveyed would choose a different industry due to the lack of diversity and inclusion. It is important for companies to work on attracting and retaining female talent in the industry. 

CSN is proud to have the most vehicle manufacturer (OEM) certifications of any network in Canada.

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