After 155 Year Reign Canada's B.C. State Printer Shuts Down

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After 155 Year Reign Canada's B.C. State Printer Shuts Down

 user admin 2014-10-21 at 10:33:38 am Views: 187
  • #41298

    After 155 Year Reign Canada's B.C. State Printer Shuts Down
    155-year reign ends for Queen’s Printer in British Columbia Canada
    By Carla Wilson  Times Colonist

    The Queen’s Printer in Victoria, the 155-year-old Crown agency that produces documents for the B.C. government, is closing its printing operation.

    The closing will save money and printing jobs will shift to the private sector, the province said.
    VKA-printer-172201.jpg
    Thursday: The Queen's Printer in Victoria, the 155-year-old Crown agency that produces documents for the B.C. government, is closing its printing operation.   Photograph By DARREN STONE, Times Colonist

    “Demand for printing has declined with the growth of electronic publishing and digital information, and this is true for government as well,” said Andrew Wilkinson, minister of technology, innovation and citizens’ services. “We see this as an opportunity to transition from printing in-house to utilizing the private sector for government’s printing needs.”

    A smaller staff will continue to broker printing contracts and deliver other services from the 1928 art-deco Queen’s Printer building at 563 Superior St.

    The Queen’s Printer operates older presses using plate and inked rubber systems that are near the end of their service life, as well as high-speed digital copiers, the Technology Ministry said. That equipment will be sold. Declining demand means the cost of staying in the print business would be prohibitive, the ministry said.

    The decision to close is part of the province’s core review, which started in 2013.

    By summer of next year, the ground-floor printing operation will be closed. A total of 76 staff work at the Queen’s Printer, a ministry official said.

    About 30 employees could be affected. Scott Doherty, assistant to the president of Unifor, which represents the workers, disputed the need for the shutdown. “There’s still a value in having the confidential, in-house printing facilities.” It’s not yet clear whether any printers will be able to transfer to other provincial jobs, he said.

    It appears that some unionized workers will remain to do computerized work that mainly involves design, Doherty said.

    The government expects the closing will create up to $5 million annually in business for the private sector. “The Queen’s Printer uses a rotational bid system that gives pre-qualified suppliers an equal opportunity to bid on government’s print needs. Contractors will need to ensure value, timeliness, security and deliver the same quality services that the Queen’s Printer is known for. Various contractors will be used around the province, including local printers,” the ministry said.

    Barb Isman, owner of Hillside Printing in Victoria, is eager to bid on work, saying the company has spent more than $1 million for equipment in the past couple of years. If additional orders come in, another shift of workers could be added to the existing 20 staff.

    Mike Shemilt, president of Island Blue Print, with operations in Victoria and Sidney, also welcomes the opportunity for more work. “For the local printing economy, it could be beneficial.” Currently, about 20 to 25 staff work in Island Blue’s printing services.

    Island Blue and Hillside Printing are among firms that have carried out contract work for the Queen’s Printer in the past.

    The Queen’s Printer building, on Victoria’s heritage register, was recently upgraded at a cost of $1.38 million.
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