Approximately a decade ago, a gathering of organizations and individuals within the B.C. marine sector came together to form the West Coast Shipbuilding and Repair Forum (WCSRF). Initiated by Captain Alex Rueben, Commander Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton, the informal WCSRF brought together players from industry, government and academia concerned with the development of a sustainable marine sector on the West Coast. The aim of the WCSRF was "to promote a viable and competitive shipbuilding and repair industry on Canada’s West Coast that can provide high quality, reliable, innovative services to domestic and international customers."
Since initiation, the Forum has sought to do this, providing a focal point for raising and discussing matters of common interest. These include generating beneficial initiatives for the sector such as aligning with the Resource Training Organization to create the Human Resource Steering Committee (HRSC). This preserved and, where needed, created new trades unique and critical to the marine sector. This is turn contributed to the 2012 BC Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Workforce Table, future projections of sector labour market information and an accompanying Human Resource Strategy. It also led to the creation of the Industrial Marine Training and Applied Research Centre (IMTARC) which has done much to train and educate the sector’s evolving workforce.
WCSRF has therefore sought to represent the interests of the whole industrial marine sector and drive initiatives that would address it’s challenges. However, with the continuing evolution of the sector, including the National Shipbuilding and Procurement Strategy (NSPS) and ferry replacements, Forum members asked if more could be done as a formally organized not-for-profit association. Therefore, under the leadership of President Mark Dixon and Secretary Mark Collins, investigations were initiated. A Working Group was formed which developed a draft "Membership Guide" containing a new vision, mission, strategic direction, priorities, objectives, membership benefits and a governance structure for an association. At the spring Vancouver WCSRF meeting, the "Membership Guide" was presented. The WCSRF membership then ratified the decision to move to an industry association, voted to dissolve the Forum and elected the members of the Working Group as an interim Board of Directors charged with getting the new association on its feet.
The association has been formally registered and incorporated under the Societies Act as the "Association of British Columbia Marine Industries" (ABCMI). The vision of the new organization is to be the leading representative for the industrial marine sector of British Columbia and a catalyst for its competitive, efficient and environmentally responsible industrial marine activity. It seeks to forge a strategic view of the sector and be an innovative contributor to the international competitiveness of British Columbia marine industries.
The role of the ABCMI is to:
Within these roles, ABCMI’s objectives for its first two years will be: workforce development, implementation of a marine sector strategy, supply chain development and establishment of membership benefits. In the immediate future, the interim Board and Directors will sign up membership, complete an initial business plan, and call an inaugural meeting of the ABCMI before the end of 2015. At that meeting the Interim Board and Executives will resign and an election of new Directors will be held.
To be effective and succeed, it is vital the ABCMI have a dynamic and engaged membership. The ABCMI is seeking to represent those "making their living in the industrial marine space of B.C." This includes, but not restricted, to shipyards, ship owners, consultants, labour groups, suppliers and manufacturers, educators, designers, engineers, marine lawyers, industrial development policy makers and public entities. As such, all the former members of the WCSRF are invited to join the new organization, as are any persons, companies or organizations in or with an interest in the marine industrial sector.
If you are interested in joining, or you are seeking additional information, ABCMI can be contacted at:
Association of British Columbia Marine Industries
100 Maplebank Road
Esquimalt, BC, V9A 4M1