Associations have role to fill

Lee Senter, CFCRA president

Practises after pandemic

It has always been a bit unusual to write a column six-to-eight weeks in advance and be able to deliver a message that is suitable for the times. You never knew for sure what would happen in the coming weeks, but you could write considering for what will “likely happen.” But the world has changed and it’s unlikely to ever become the same place again.

For associations, the change may be the final nail in the coffin, or it may be the cause for a resurgence in membership. Let me tell you why. The classes we host at the CFCRA are typically a combination of hands-on training and written theory. The subject matter is not always easy to cover fully in an online streaming format. Videos can be used for visual demonstrations online and may be adequate for certain segments of the candidates we offer our classes to. But there are a lot of blue-collar workers who do not learn that way very well and do want to get their hands dirty, so to speak, and learn by doing.

Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, almost all the cleaning classes we had scheduled in a classroom setting for the spring and summer have been cancelled. There is still a need for these classes, and the IICRC among others have moved ahead with their e-learning initiatives.

Maybe the better description would be the certification bodies are moving at warp speed to catch up with the times and offer online classroom alternatives. The instructors who have previously been booked solid with in-person classes are sitting at home idle at the time of writing this article. Some instructors are adapting their presentations to be able to be live streamed, some instructors are actually beta-testing their presentations.

The conclusions so far? Surprisingly enough, the presentations that normally take 14 hours of in-class instruction are being done in about 10 hours. So the length of time for “in-class” instruction is not being met. So, what do we do? Add videos or more written materials? Add quizzes?

For some people, their reaction to this progress is nothing less than “it’s about time.” The large distributors, manufacturers and retailers of cleaning and restorative chemicals and equipment are running with this idea. The distributors already have their e-learning classes and modules ready to roll. But what about the people who learn by doing, discussing and group assignments?

In these days when the industry associations seem to have started losing pertinence in the grand scheme of things, all of sudden, they have relevance. The days of mentoring and holding hands-on classes appear to now be back in the hands of the associations. There are other great things happening for associations as well, including the need for data from the government and society in general.

The government is very interested in the quantification for the level of “cleanliness” for surfaces these days with the Covid-19 clean-up projects. How do we get the data? Who do we go to get this data? Well, lo and behold, it’s the associations.

Now more than ever, the internet social media sites and discussion boards cannot successfully fulfill the requirements of the public. There is a role for the associations to fill!

It is my opinion, now more than ever, we need to create one unified voice for our government to come to when it comes to cleaning our flooring surfaces in the built indoor environment.

Anybody who has ideas on how this can be accomplished, please write a letter to the editor of this magazine, it’s time to kick start this initiative.

The Canadian Flooring Cleaning and Restoration Association (CFCRA) was preceded by the Flooring Institute of Ontario (FIO), a not-for-profit organization which proudly served the needs of flooring industry professionals in Ontario since 1962.

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