By Michael Rothe, President & CEO
Like many, I’ve been eager to reconnect with friends, family, and colleagues after two years of online gatherings. I am so happy that 2022 was filled with opportunities to see each other in person again, including the CFLA’s staple events: our annual golf tournament and renowned national conference.
We designed our events to satisfy pent-up networking demand without sacrificing the classics you’ve come to expect over the years, like notable speakers, quality industry intelligence, and educational sessions to help you and your business succeed.
I’m proud to share that nearly 1,000 industry professionals attended the 11 events we organized this year. We were also fortunate enough to close off 2022 by hosting our first in-person holiday party at the CFLA’s office in early December.
Annual national conference – reconnecting and building bridges
In September, our annual national conference returned in person. Close to 400 delegates attended to reconnect and build bridges. From the stunning receptions overlooking Charlottetown’s waterfront to insightful workshops and sessions ⇒, like Rick Mercer’s keynote, I couldn’t be more thankful to bring the industry together again in such a unique location.
Our sponsors, vendors, and you made this event one to be remembered. I can’t wait to build on our success next year in Québec City, where we’ll celebrate the CFLA’s 50th Anniversary and find our industry is stronger together.
Advocating for you – capitalizing on every opportunity
Returning in person also enhanced our advocacy work. In April, we held an in-person Hill Day and reception in Ottawa to reacquaint policymakers with our industry. Over two busy days, we met with 20 Members of Parliament, five Senators, and representatives from the Prime Minister’s Office. We showcased how you support Canadians to stimulate the economy and had discussions that offer practical solutions to issues that matter to your business.
Professional development – more tools and education for your success
In my letter to you last year, I shared plans to upgrade the CFLA’s Canadian Leasing Education Online program to our brand-new CFLA Fundamentals leasing education course. In January, we formally launched Fundamentals. Whether new to the industry or well-seasoned, dozens of people have completed the course’s seven interactive modules and final Be the Boss quiz that simulates what it’s like to run an independent leasing company. I encourage you to sign up for Fundamentals to sharpen your industry knowledge.
We haven’t stopped at Fundamentals in providing you with more professional development opportunities. This year, we started creating a Canadian version of the Certified Lease & Finance Professional (CLFP) designation. We heard from you that professional designations like CLFP will help the industry in many facets, like enhancing trust and professionalism and helping with talent acquisition/retention. We plan to launch this important program before the end of 2024.
In addition to our vital market intelligence offerings, we also held webinars to discuss new laws, regulations, and information that may impact your business. For example, nearly 100 members joined our webinar on Québec’s new privacy laws and how they impact the industry.
We post all our webinars on the CFLA website for you to review at your leisure.
Digital-first strategy – becoming more accessible
We implemented our multi-year digitization strategy to automate many of our internal processes with a new CRM and integrated website. During the summer, I was thrilled to see our investments pay off with our online renewal system. The new system eliminated delays and costs by allowing members to instantly renew and saving countless hours of staff time manually processing renewals.
Looking forward – setting the stage for more
Without the dedication of our engaged member companies, Board of Directors, and Committee volunteers, we wouldn’t have been able to deliver on our three pillars: industry advocacy, intelligence, and professional development/networking. I can’t thank you enough for your support.
I’m keen to continue building on the work our new foundations gave us this year and excited to share it with you next year, like our new Technology Committee, to help us remain current and effective for all of our members.
CFLA lobbying increases leasing deduction limits for second time
The CFLA’s lobbying efforts increase auto leasing deduction limits for second time after 20 years without an increase. Like every year end, the Government of Canada announced the 2023 automobile deduction limits and expense benefit rates for businesses.
Intense lobbying by the CFLA led to higher deductions for the first time in over two decades last year, increasing the limit from $800 to $900.
This year, after sustained advocacy and two more meetings with the Department of Finance, saw another rise: Deductible leasing costs will be increased from $900 to $950 per month, before tax, for new leases entered into on or after January 1, 2023.
We’ll continue to advocate leasing deductions that reflect the current economic context. In the present high inflation and low capital investment environment, any measure that frees up money for Canadian businesses to reinvest is good policy.
From all of us here at the CFLA, best wishes for the holidays, and thank you for your confidence in us as we work for the betterment of everyone within our industry. We look forward to seeing you all again in person at one of our many events planned for 2023.
Michael Rothe is President & CEO of Canadian Finance & Leasing Association.