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Should ‘door-knocking’ companies be CANASA members?

CANASA changed its name in 2004 from the Canadian Alarm and Security Association to the Canadian Security Association to recognized that its members did more than just alarms.

September 7, 2010  By JF Champagne

It also reflected the wish of the leaders at the time to open the doors to new categories of members. South of the border our sister association, the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association did the same this year and also changed their name to the Electronic Security Association, showing a similar trend of associations to diversify their membership. While we have not experienced the membership growth we had hoped for, we can say that we have succeeded in diversifying our membership.There are more integrators, security directors, consultants and guards today joining our ranks than ever before. More importantly they are now playing an active role on committees, Chapter boards and at the national level.
Opening the door to these new groups with their particular needs and sometimes different opinions on issues can be source of conflicts with the ‘traditional base’. This is where tolerance and openness is key to enable us to successfully grow our organization. I understand how difficult this can be.
Growing up in the French Canadian culture of Montreal and after 15 years living in Toronto, the multicultural hub of the country, I have witnessed how diversity can create challenges at times. But also how much it has become a necessity for sustainability. I gained a strong belief that inclusiveness and tolerance are the only way for our society, our association, or any organization for that matter, to grow and remain relevant. 
So what can unite the CANASA members if ‘what they do’ is substantially different?
I believe that what unites our members is the desire to be recognized as professionals, to show that they are committed to the industry. They want to do things right for the industry and the public. This is why we have a code of ethics for our members and this is why we will be launching the Accredited Security Contractor (ASC) program in 2011 to allow members to pledge their adherence to the highest standards.
I’d like to echo the comments of Ivan Spector in his column about unethical practices by companies selling door-to-door. Yes, CANASA should do more when companies act unethically in the security field. But I don’t think this has anything to do with selling door-to-door. This business model is not new to our industry and is an accepted method for selling goods and services. What we need to stop are the unethical practices, not the business model. This is where diversity and tolerance is key. Whether you sell high-end custom designed or mass market door-to-door security systems, you should do it in a professional manner and as such you should be a member of our association. And you should do so in accordance with the organization’s code of ethics.
Our code of ethics and complaint process are publicly available. Members, non-members and the public can file a complaint at any time with me, the Executive Director. I support Ivan’s view that CANASA should do more to stop unethical practices. I believe we can achieve this by making a greater effort to make our code of ethics and its complaint process better known and encouraging people to report unethical practices. But we must remain open minded and tolerant.  Lets not be tempted to condemn a business model simply because of some ‘bad apples’.

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