The Grand Forum du Québec returns

December 19, 2022

Although it had been four years since the last Grand Forum du Québec, it only took a few minutes for those gathered at the Saint-Hyacinthe Convention Centre in Quebec, on the fifteenth of December, to pick up as if they had only been apart for a couple of days. It speaks volumes to the tight knit community that has built up around the auto care sector in Quebec— and it is that sense of community that the Grand Forum du Québec celebrates.

As current AIA Canada Quebec division chair, Élisabeth Lambert, said when she welcomed members at the launch of the event, “It is an honor and a privilege to welcome you all under one roof after so long. We are all part of a great industry where we are mostly competitors for the same market share, but our strength is putting our rivalries aside to work together on industry issues.”

AIA Canada President Jean-François Champagne followed Élisabeth to give an update on AIA Canada’s activities, with a special focus on the right to repair.

I am AIA

The renewed Grand Forum du Québec came hand in hand with a renewed commitment to the mission of AIA Canada’s Quebec division. Zineb Ahnou Ghouila, vice president of marketing at Uni-Select, presented the Division’s new campaign, “I am AIA.”

The aim of this campaign is to raise the profile of AIA Canada members in the industry in order to give a face to the association and to highlight these members within the industry. We encourage members working in the auto care industry in Quebec to submit an application to be featured in the campaign.

New vehicle technology

With modern cars becoming more and more like computers on wheels, it can be overwhelming to try and keep up with the advancements in vehicle technology. Staying on top of new technology is necessary to staying in business in today’s auto care sector. This was the message that Wilson Almeida, technical training director, Vast-Auto Distribution, and Philippe Bussières, lead training consultant for the Conseil provincial des Comités paritaires de l’industrie des services automobiles (CPCPA), brought to the Grand Forum du Québec, with their presentation on Skills EV, an electric and hybrid vehicle training program designed for the automotive service industry workers.

“Electric vehicles are a technology […] so we are dealing with a more informed and invested clientele in the repair and maintenance of their vehicles.” said Philippe.

“Assiduous training and completion of the entire curriculum are very important. Indeed, there are characteristics of electric vehicle components that become a safety issue not only for the consumer but also for the technicians and mechanics.” added Wilson.

Protecting your hearing – new noise legislation

Anyone who has worked at an automotive service shop knows they can be noisy environments. This can pose a danger of hearing loss in employees who work on the shop floors. Marianne Laforte, safety consultant at Auto Prévention, lead attendees through the how and why of protecting workers’ hearing, as well as dealing with the legal requirements behind hearing protection.

As Marianne said, “The responsibility to protect employees’ hearing rests entirely with the employer and there are various measures that can be put in place to reduce noise, including the mandatory wearing of hearing protection equipment such as ear muffs.”

Putting the client first

The auto care industry is, first and foremost, a service industry. Our clients come to us – frequently in times of desperate need – and trust us to do quality work to keep their vehicle safely on the road. Réjean Lortie’s presentation focuses on the importance of putting the needs of that client front and center to build relationships of trust and loyalty with your customers in order to keep prospering as a company. With over 40 years of auto care industry experience, Réjean understands the value of knowing and addressing your client’s needs.

“It’s time to serve the client from A to Z, but it’s also time to serve their customer service needs in order to build a quality relationship to create loyalty with the client. It’s time to take care of your client, not just their car.” insists Réjean.

The magic of trust

The Grand Forum du Québec’s final speaker, Étienne Vendette, a magician/comedian, dispensed words of wisdom to a crowd of auto care professionals. He taught the crowd about the importance of trust through real life examples and a few magics tricks.  

“A magic trick is a problem that you don’t have a solution for yet. It’s a good reminder to step back and change your perspective or approach to solve it.”

A sure bet

The Grand Forum du Québec wrapped up with cocktails, dinner, and a fun filled casino night. The camaraderie shown by industry professionals who participated in the 2022 Grand Forum du Québec edition demonstrated the resilience of the auto care sector in the province.

See the photo gallery on Facebook.


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