Ground Water Canada

Features Contamination Water Issues
Editorial – Summer 2013

Bankruptcy Blues


June 19, 2013
By Laura Aiken


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This year undoubtedly marks the most tumultuous chapter in the story of late Canadian Ground Water Association (CGWA). Bankruptcy claimed the life of this industry’s national body in April, leaving a trail of anger, head-shaking, sadness, and an all-around bad flavour in the mouth.

This year undoubtedly marks the most tumultuous chapter in the story of late Canadian Ground Water Association (CGWA). Bankruptcy claimed the life of this industry’s national body in April, leaving a trail of anger, head-shaking, sadness, and an all-around bad flavour in the mouth.

An association has many roles for a trade, from lobbying for the interests of its members in matters of government and public policy, to working out better group insurance rates. The ground water industry in Canada has provincial associations, but a national group is important in bringing together the membership as a whole and creating a united face in a country where ground water legislation is the domain of its provinces. The CGWA was the bridge connecting the vast betweens that are this land. It is no more, and that’s a darn shame. But, as the association itself has said: onwards and upwards.

The bankruptcy doesn’t need to mean the end of a national association. It’s simply the end of a corporate number. A new one can be registered; a new association can be born. However, any new association arising from the ashes of this situation will inherit the memory of its not-so-buried elder. On a grander scale, the question remains of how the ground water bodies and the geothermal entities will play nice in the sandbox again after the Canadian GeoExchange Coalition (CGC) ended up the prime indebted at the point of dissolution. It’s impossible to imagine a hand-holding happening, but what is in the best interest of the professionals working in these industries?

I can’t think of a single industry in business today that doesn’t face the challenge of becoming skillfully diversified and flexible enough to succeed in the business climate of tomorrow. What that looks like in a company will be different for everyone, but it will have to look like something if they want to survive because satisfying public expectation is a one-way ticket moonward. The glut of information people can access today has changed the way everyone deals with these more informed customers, even if these customers err on the miss side of the information. Cross-training skills across various aspects of drilling, water and geothermal, as well as water treatment and recycling, seems like a natural move in an increasingly complex environment. These are the new one-stop-shop requirements of this millennium that may play out in the ensuing decades.

It isn’t just a sad-mad day for members of the dissolved CGWA, or one of mucky feelings at the CGC, who won a three-year legal battle and won’t see the monies awarded. It’s a wound for two industries that may as well be stitched together with dandelion tufts. With that kind of bandaging, nothing will heal – no scar will eventually form and fade into a thin, white line that can barely be traced – for a long, long time.

There are professionals who drill water wells and install geothermal systems. There are mutual concerns between these two groups of drillers. How will collaboration proceed in the future? How will the shared concerns be addressed? How will these two groups put this behind them and get back to business as usual? Anger can filter up from the bottom or down from the top, but everyone will feel better when in time it’s been filtered out to sea.


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