Letter to the Minister of National Defence

On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, CAM sent the letter below to Peter McKay, Minister of National Defence, several members of parliament and members of the Inter-departmental Committee (IDC) expressing our concern about the structure of the Letter of Interest for Household Goods Moving Services.

The Honourable Peter MacKay
Minister of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters

Sir:

The Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) is the only trade association representing moving companies in Canada. CAM’s membership is composed of moving companies, van lines, international movers (both in Canada and overseas), suppliers to the industry, and national and international trade associations. Our mission is to further the interests of owner-managed moving and storage companies.

On June 1, 2012 Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) invited interested parties to reply to a Letter of Interest (LOI) for Household Goods Moving Services for DND, RCMP and CRS personnel. 

While it is the contractors – Atlas Van Lines, SIRVA Canada and United Van Lines – that contract with PWGSC and manage the program, it is their agents and members, members of the Canadian Association of Movers, that deliver the service.

With a few exceptions, this group is comprised of hundreds of small businesses across the country, each providing personalized, professional moving services in its local service area. Over the past 15 years, these movers have provided quality service to employees of the Government of Canada. These services have steadily increased in service satisfaction to your employees and improved service levels.

In order to achieve this, movers have been obliged to invest heavily to meet the summer spike in demand. And in return, movers receive a return on revenue between 3% and 4%, which is typical in the trucking industry.

The pricing and penalty system that is laid out in the LOI yields all the evils of any all-inclusive system. In theory, some movers would enjoy a windfall based on the services they don’t have to provide on a specific move, and others a loss based on a broad range of services that they do have to provide. For the individual mover it becomes a gamble and with the industry’s small margins, a series of moves of either kind could make or break a small business.

Further, with a high demand and a very short time frame in which to perform these moves, the proposed new penalty system could drive many movers out of business or encourage them to opt out of the system.

The LOI attempts to reduce complexity of the payment system, while in fact it is reducing compensation to the individual mover and increasing the movers’ business risk. At the same time, it could be argued that the increased business risk incurred by the van lines and movers will be met with a higher price to offset penalties and unknown operational factors.

In conclusion, we invite the Inter-departmental Committee (IDC) to meet with the responsible members of the moving industry to effect changes in the LOI prior to its transition into a Request for Proposal. We strongly believe that the cost of this contract pales in comparison to the impact it has on the lives of Canada’s military personnel, RCMP, government employees and their families.

Sincerely,

Ted LeLacheur, President and CEO – Chairman, Canadian Association of Movers
Western Moving & Storage, Edmonton, AB

Thomas (Tom) S. Finlay, Senior Vice President – Vice Chairman, Canadian Association of Movers
AMJ Campbell Van Lines, Vancouver, BC

Perry Thorne, Sales Manager – Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Association of Movers
Greg & Sons Moving and Storage, Scarborough, ON

John Levi, President
Canadian Association of Movers, Thornhill, ON