Friday, July 14, 2017

Regulatory Preparedness SPEAKING FOR BUSINESS

Regulatory Preparedness

PIJAC Canada is often asked to participate in regulatory exercises at all levels of government. As a rule, we always try to get involved at the earliest possible time in the process, preferably before the first regulatory draft is written.

In some cases, we are invited to the consultation process, where we are able to contribute information and expertise to assist the decision makers. This situation is most often experienced at the federal and provincial levels.

In some situations, we only find out about the regulation further along in the process. Obviously this is a more difficult situation. This is a something we experience most often at the municipal level. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Simple steps taken by your business can help minimize surprises and get you into the process early, allowing you to be pro-active and helping you in achieving a more favourable outcome. Here is how you go about doing this.

1) Make your business known

While PIJAC Canada can get involved, nothing beats the involvement of a local business, one that stands to be directly affected by this regulatory exercise. In many cases, PIJAC Canada is not even allowed to make a presentation, government officials and committee members preferring to hear from the “locals”.

As a business operator and tax payer in the community, it is imperative that you get to know your government representative (councillor, alderman etc.) and that he/she gets to know your business. The same goes for the appropriate city staff. It is important that they know you are a serious business operator, that you run a sound operation and that you absolutely want to be consulted on any issue that might affect your livelihood.

2) Be ready to showcase your business

Start gathering all letters from clients, testimonials, press clippings that demonstrate the quality of your business in the area of animal care, customer service, community involvement, etc. attesting to the quality the service you offer.

Make sure you keep inspection reports from the different law enforcement agents that visit your business (annual inspections, other visits, etc.). These should be kept in one place and be readily available when the time comes to use them. Letters from the professionals you work with such as livestock suppliers, animal care professionals (vets, groomers, animal health technicians, trainers) should also be kept and be ready if need be.

Anything attesting to your focus on animal care, customer service and community involvement is extremely helpful. Keep handy copies of training certificates, awards for you and your staff that provide evidence of your commitment to animal care, customer service and community involvement.

3) Build your own support group

Make sure to gather the support of the people around you. If the need arises, enlist the help of your customers in talking to their councillors, signing your instore petition and supporting you in writing but also in person by making presentations at the different council meetings.

Make sure to develop your media contacts and enlist their help. Do not underestimate local media. Keep copies of all press articles, columns that showcase your business or your staff. Regular advertising in the community paper can be very helpful. Social media can also be used to help explain your position and gain support.

4) Get involved

Your best advocate in a municipal issue is yourself and your fellow business operators. Collaboration is crucial. Anything you can do to present a united front is beneficial. PIJAC Canada can provide with materials, information, statistics, and our own letters to council, but this will have little effect without your direct involvement.

5) Be persistent don’t quit

Make sure to document all your discussions and meetings with city officials. Keep copies of all the correspondence received and sent. Remember that the outcome in these political situations can change quickly favoring one side over another. Remaining diligent to the end is key.

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