History of CPIA

The Canadian Printing Industries Association was founded in 1939.  From its inception until 1958 it was known as the Canadian Graphic Arts Association. From 1958 until 1987, it was known as the Graphic Arts Industries Association. In 1987, its current name, the Canadian Printing Industries Association (CPIA) was adopted.

There were four categories of members in CPIA:  Printers, Suppliers, Consultants and Special Members (i.e., Universities, Colleges, Museums and other Associations related to the printing industry).

In 7 provinces, every member of CPIA was also a member of an affiliated Regional Association, also known by the acronym “FARA” (which actually stands for Formerly Affiliated Regional Association). In 1998 there were a total of 7 FARA’s. From west to east these were:

  • BCPIA (British Columbia Printing Association)
  • PGIA (Printing & Graphic Industries Association of Alberta)
  • SGAIA (Saskatchewan Graphic Arts Industries Association)
  • OPIA (Ontario Printing and Imaging Association)
  • AAGQ (Association des Arts Graphiques du Québec, Inc.)
  • NBPIA (New Brunswick Printing Industries Association)
  • NSPIA (Nova Scotia Printing Industries Association)

There were no FARA’s in Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland or the Territories.

The CPIA maintained an office in our nation’s capital, Ottawa, for more than 20-years. The association was managed by a full-time President who took direction from the CPIA Board of Directors. The Board composition consisted of several elected officers: Chair, Vice-Chair and Secretary-Treasurer. Board positions were also reserved for the Past-Chair, Director-at-Large, a Supplier representative and representatives from each FARA.

The primary focus for the CPIA was Federal Government lobbying bringing important industry issues to the attention of the elected officials of the day. The CPIA was successful on a number of critical issues including: ensuring federally-mandated printing work (postage stamps) was produced domestically rather than outside of the country; the strengthening of copyright infringement laws protecting intellectual property; improvements to country of origin marking relating to the NAFTA agreement and; the formation of a Canadian Printing Industry Sector Council.

The CPIA also hosted a very successful annual convention which brought members together from across Canada. In most cases, one of the FARA’s hosted the convention in close collaboration with the CPIA. Over the years, the conventions were held across the country, including Vancouver, Kananaskis, Saskatoon, Niagara-by-the-Lake, Huntsville, Kitchener, Montebello, Quebec City, St. Andrews, Halifax, St. John’s and many more.

Promoting the interests of the printing industry with our largest trading partner in the US, the CPIA was also affiliated with the Printing Industries of America (PIA). Canadian member companies were provided access to all PIA programs and a CPIA member was on the PIA Board of Directors. Over the years, we were proud to have two OPIA/CPIA members elected to the position of Chairperson of the PIA – Warren Wilkins and Jeff Ekstein.

The 2008 recession and the prolonged economic challenges facing our industry in the years that followed were a very challenging time for the CPIA. Financial constraints combined with a lack of consensus on the best path forward for the Association resulted in a number of FARA’s departing from the CPIA.

In 2016, in an effort to revitalize national unity within the Printing Industry, the CPIA held an extraordinary meeting with its membership to vote on the future of the CPIA. The CPIA executive recommended, and the members agreed, that new leadership would head the CPIA.  Two regional associations, Print Forward (formerly BCPIA) and OPIA were asked and agreed to lead a new direction for the CPIA.

Led by representatives of PrintForward and OPIA, a ‘Federation’ structure was proposed for the CPIA whereby Regional Associations (RA’s) and Sector Associations (SA’s) make up the membership of the CPIA. Each member holds one or two Board Positions with Board members responsible for directing the activities and priorities of the association.

Monthly meetings occurred over a period of nearly two years and much hard work was done by the new CPIA leadership team. On September 13, 2018, CPIA announced, “the launch of the newly restructured print industry federation in Canada”. The new membership make-up of CPIA now includes 6 RA’s and 1 SA (PESDA, Printing Equipment and Supply Dealers of Canada). The CPIA also welcomes other related industry organizations to join the CPIA in support of the national voice of the printing industry in Canada.

CPIA is committed to bringing about a revitalized national association and a unifying voice for the printing industry in Canada. The CPIA will work with its membership and all industry stakeholders as we grow into a vibrant national association.