Local Merchants Outraged at Caf + Non Profit Competition in Sales & Service of Office Equipment, Supplies & Services – Cornwall Ontario – March 28, 2010

Cornwall ON – Local Language School Caf + is in hot water with a group of local merchants in Cornwall Ontario.   The group, a non-profit has been running what Janie Desjardins calls a “Social enterprise” which she told me was quite popular in Hawkesbury, Cassleman, and many parts of Quebec.  Caf + has recently added a French Language bookstore as well as Caf + Technologies as extensions of their Language and skills services.

Recently founded, CAF Technologies is an enterprise allowing the public & commercial sectors of Cornwall & Eastern Ontario to partake in a personalized experience when purchasing technology supplies. CAF Technologies is fortunate to have a valuable team of qualified professionals with over two decades of experience in sales & service of most major technology distributors. The grade of service that you will find at CAF Technologies will not be encountered anywhere else.

The thing is that many of the local merchants feel very different about Caf+’s social enterprise of selling and supporting office machines, supplies and services and have sent letters to the local MP, MPP, and City officials including Mayor Bob Kilger.

At issue is what they feel is unfair competition and the fact that Caf+ receives generous amounts of money from various levels of government.

Ms Desjardins stated the group will be releasing an official statement Monday March 29 that will include the statement that Caf+ does not use any governmental monies on any of the services of Caf+ technologies.

Letters have been sent from local businesses such as Jtec, Island Inkjet, J.L.Computers, Stormont Stationers, and a few others that declined to be mentioned as of print time.

Many asked why the school wasn’t using local merchants services instead of competing against them?

We are going to be doing a segment about this story on Seawayradio.com either Tuesday or Wednesday as this story evolves.

What do you think Cornwall?  Should Caf + participate in a competitive business with these merchants?  Should they be able to still receive government monies?   Feel free to post your thoughts and comments below.

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19 Responses to "Local Merchants Outraged at Caf + Non Profit Competition in Sales & Service of Office Equipment, Supplies & Services – Cornwall Ontario – March 28, 2010"

  1. sloppy joe   March 28, 2010 at 5:45 AM

    I say run the !#$%#$ out of the City. Hiding behind Gov’t loopholes, further sinking our local business men for a moment of political candor, I think not!

  2. ConcernedCitizen   March 28, 2010 at 6:24 AM

    I heard that this is not the first city that CAF+ has pulled this stunt. All government (our taxes) money to them should be stopped! Even out the playing field and lets support our local merchants!

  3. admin   March 28, 2010 at 6:28 AM

    Hi Concerned Citizen. I’m a huge advocate of keeping it local. Buy Locally, Spend Locally, and Advertise Locally. It just makes sense in most cases. Of course Caf + is a local business that even owns its own building which is quite rare for a non-profit.

  4. Ontarian   March 28, 2010 at 6:53 AM

    Agreed, it is strange for a non-profit organization to own their own building. What moneys did they use to buy it? Public money? Stating that they are “non-profit” only means that they clear-out their bank accounts before tax time, probably giving themselves bonuses and exorbitant salaries, and telling the tax man they made no profits. Nice gimmick!

  5. Eric   March 28, 2010 at 7:07 AM

    I enjoy the very political response “does not use any governmental monies on any of the services of Caf+”
    Could be true, but if use monies from the governement for say, rent, does that not help you to reduce the income needed from other sources? A small independant business would have to pay for all costs out of income.

  6. Mark the Locavore   March 28, 2010 at 8:39 AM

    Just wanted to echo Eric – nice try and all but anyone who runs an organization successfully does so by leveraging the assets they have at hand – for-profit or not. This smells like a huge conflict of interest to me and even the most benevolent and fair-minded leader of such an organization would not be able to fairly keep separate the profitable for the non-profitable. Don’t mix the two!

    It’s high time our politicians weighed in on this, too – it’s hard to imagine anyone finding it fair to charge one business taxes to fund their own competition. We’ll be watching this story with interest!

  7. sloppy joe   March 28, 2010 at 1:29 PM

    Can you say TAX FRAUD ? I think it’s time Caf+, Caffed up the truth. I thought that Non-Profit business had the property zoned by local Govt’ and given to them for use and all they had to do was cover utilities cost, which is paid through fund raising. I also thought that the Govt’ regulated salaries for non-profit organizations. Hmmm… Have any of you ever seen those people on street corners asking for support of the Red Cross? They too should be investigated. I for one looked into it myself and found out through one of their managers that very little money actually goes to the Red Cross, so little in fact that if you were to investigate you would find yourself donating directly rather than through “PUBLIC OUTREACH”. More Govt’ loopholes taken advantage of indeed. Maybe the editor of this paper could look into “PUBLIC OUTREACH” next as an investigative report. Anyone care to correct me where it is I stand wrong or right?

  8. Stan   March 28, 2010 at 1:38 PM

    If CAF owns the building they are in then they obviously don’t have rent to pay. Does that mean that they are paying their taxes (Municipal, School, Provincial & Federal) using our taxes? This situation sounds horrendous if we’re paying their taxes for them!

  9. Confused   March 28, 2010 at 6:20 PM

    I have to start by pointing out that this article was very poorly written.

    The anonymous author of this article unfortunately misrepresented CAF School for Adults by stating that they are a “Local Language School”. Anyone who actually takes a quick minute to read through CAF’s website, will quickly notice that CAF is not only a “Local Language School”. CAF works very hard to allow access to successful services that help local people integrate to the labor market and become active and involved members in the area’s social and economical activities. If anyone were to actually use common sense and conduct a short research on the meaning of “Social Economy Enterprise” (which the author failed to mention in this article), It would then be obvious that the operation of CAF Technologies is completely 100% legitimate.

    To ConcernedCitizen: I am curious to know in which other cities “stunts” like this have been attempted by CAF+? To my knowledge this is a false statement. And I encourage you to check your facts before posting such comments online.

  10. admin   March 28, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Confused the writer of this “story”, myself, never suggested that the purpose of the story was to share the definition of “social economy enterprise.”

    My understanding of that would be say a community kitchen. Btw, do you have any relationship with Caf or their many affiliated businesses?

    We are going to ask anyone that posts on this thread or any related to this subject to sign their posts if they are party to this conflict. That means if you work for or own any of the businesses involved including Caf that you identify yourselves when posting.

    Thanks

  11. Confused   March 28, 2010 at 8:26 PM

    I’m going to start my post off by saying that it is extremely unfair that you are asking only individuals affiliated with CAF to sign their posts. You are allowing anonymous people to attack CAF through your Website, but you are not allowing that same freedom to others that wish to disagree with these false accusations. 
     
    My previous post was simply implying that your readers should really think about what they are writing before clicking the “SUBMIT” button. Many of the posts submitted on this thread are filled with inaccurate information. Actually I’m going to permit myself to say that most of the information is completely false!  
     
    If your readers are going to attack CAF anonymously, I am going to help defend CAF anonymously. 
     
    Unfortunately, I am no longer going to be replying to this Website. Like you’ve mentioned in your article, an official statement will be released sometime on Monday. We will wait and see what this statement brings. 

    ANONYMOUS

  12. admin   March 28, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Confused I suggest you reread my posts especially if you wish to post attacks at myself or anyone else on this paper. My post clearly stated that any parties involved with Caf or the merchants at issue sign their posts. The point of that exercise is that the public not be artificially swayed by arguements that clearly would have a specific bias.

    And from what you’ve written it sounds like you have some sort of affiliation with Caf, right?

  13. Jerry   March 29, 2010 at 4:57 AM

    I agree with confused. It is unfair to ask defenders of CAF to not be anonymous while attackers can remain anonymous. This is either an anonymous comment site or it is not. if you want to change this, how specifically will you distinguish between who can be anonymous and who cannot be? Will you do the same regarding local politics, national and provincial politics, roadside spraying, dog poop parks, art shows, etc. Letters to the editor should continue to say who they are and that has been your rule all along..

  14. admin   March 29, 2010 at 6:06 AM

    Jerry I am asking that anyone affiliated with Caf or any of the merchants at issue against Caf identify themselves. That’s all. Anyone not directly affiliated with the conflict may post anonymously.

    For example if this were a Federal Election; if the poster were any of the candidates or their election team, I would ask the same of them. I hope this clarifies the policy. I understand the need for anonymity on the internet, but if any company gets slammed or overtly defended and it’s by a rep I think the public are owed that honesty.

    On the internet these days companies, and I’m not suggesting any of the companies involved in this issue are practicing this; use “ops” which can be black ops or white ops like the old Mad Magazine Spy vs Spy who post positively or negatively on behalf of their clients. This is an emotional issue for a few people and I want this discussion to be as clean and focused on the issue as possible. I want to respect all those that venture to this discussion in good faith.

  15. willie191   March 29, 2010 at 7:45 AM

    From the CAFtech web page. They are calling themselves resellers, thus, not non profit.

    “CAF TECH is the Value Added Reseller of choice for a wide variety of products”.

  16. admin   March 29, 2010 at 8:15 AM

    Hi Willie, again the question that keeps getting emailed to us is that as a non-profit which depends on the support of he community why are they not simply supporting those businesses buy purchasing from them or putting out tenders instead of competing with them?

  17. MayorKilgersLoveChild   March 30, 2010 at 2:32 PM

    (throws a turd, monkey style @ “CONFUSED”)

  18. Claudette LaPierre   April 13, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    Well, well… they got caught, finally!
    In today’s paper it reads:”An ongoing government investigation has crippled a long-running adult education provider. Centre d’apprentissage et de formation plus (CAF+) was stripped of $1.4 million in funding last month by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.”
    if you want to read more, go to: http://www.standard-freeholder.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3073129
    And most of them don’t even live around here, they have Quebec’s license plates.
    I’m glad they got caught!

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