Behind the Scenes With the Canadian Self Storage Association: Legislation and Education Take Precedence
By Robert Madsen
With just over half of 2011 complete, the Canadian self-storage industry is experiencing conservative and steady progress with the odd bump in the road. In turn, members of the Canadian Self Storage Association (CSSA) keep busy by meeting with legislators to ensure key issues are addressed for the benefit of operators and consumers.
Storage markets across the country appear to be improving as occupancies are slowly tracking upward, albeit at the expense of continued discounting and price competitiveness. Operators in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia have absorbed the effects of a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST), which took effect last summer, forcing operators to pass a price increase to their customers. This created further instability in markets that were already demonstrating volatile storage-demand curves from previous years. CSSA representatives are monitoring British Columbia carefully, as there’s a provincial referendum that may reverse the tax.
The CSSA held several successful conferences in Vancouver, Moncton. These shows have proven an invaluable resource for owners and operators to meet and network, and to discuss local issues and concerns. Topics of interest included sales and operations, legal and legislative, and construction and property taxes.
Furthermore, the CSSA rolled out the Canadian Certified Self Storage Managers course in Vancouver. The four-module course was well-attended and helped further educate Canadian self-storage professionals.
The CSSA continues to work on many fronts to better the industry. Across the nation, representatives are meeting with provincial and federal legislators to ensure the needs of the industry are expressed and advocated. Property taxes continue to be a hot topic, as jurisdictions work hard to take a disproportionate amount of taxation from self-storage businesses. With the advent of storage-auction reality shows, we’ve also seen some concerning trends, and know storage-specific lien laws will strengthen and protect the industry and consumers. Finally, the active vs. passive taxation issue has recently come to the forefront thanks to a Canada Revenue Agency audit that led to a self-storage operator to be fined.
As we proceed through the last half of the year, the CSSA will be present to meet and discuss Canadian issues at the upcoming Inside Self-Storage World Expo, Oct. 4-6, in Tacoma, Wash. There will also be a CSSA conference in Calgary, Alberta, Oct. 13-14. CSSA members look forward to continued success in business and advocacy and hope to see you at an upcoming show!
Robert Madsen is a director for the Canadian Self Storage Association. He’s also vice president of U-Lock Mini Storage Group. Madsen has more than 25 years of experience, and is moderator on SelfStorageTalk.com. For more information, visit www.cssa.ca .