Canadian Rental Service


By Jeff Campbell   

Canadian Rental Association

Free listings in the NER database is a powerful new member benefit from the CRA.

Free listings in the NER database is a powerful new member benefit from the CRA.

As Region 10 of the American Rental Association, the Canadian Rental Association and its members have access to all ARA programs and services. However, sometimes these programs are not as beneficial as they could be on this side of the border. For some time, the ARA has run a program with the U.S.

National Equipment Register that allows its members to register their equipment in a database that police can access throughout the U.S. It is also useful for insurance purposes in case of a loss claim. Until recently, this program was not available in Canada.

Now, the CRA has “Canadianized” the program. There will be a data centre in Canada and a continuous flow of information between the U.S. and Canadian databases. A summit meeting on this initiative was held last summer with 120 people in attendance, of which 85 per cent were law enforcement. This program could be very beneficial for Canadian rental operators, especially when you consider that quite a bit of the heavy equipment stolen in Canada is taken across the border.


In January, Robert Goodall of Verisk Crime Analytics gave attendees at the Ontario tabletop show a good background on heavy equipment theft in Canada and the NER. Heavy equipment theft happens, he said, because it is a relatively low-risk, high-reward form of criminal activity. Skid steers, tractors, backhoes and landscape loaders account for 74 per cent of the equipment stolen. Border officials and police are not well trained to identify stolen equipment, Goodall said, so it is essential that they have information about any equipment that goes missing when they look into something suspicious.

Having your equipment’s serial numbers and specifications registered with the NER can go a long way toward getting the equipment returned and avoiding insurance claims. It may also deter thefts by making equipment harder to move and sell.

NER maintains a database of over 110,000 theft reports and 25 million ownership records. Canadian members of the CRA can use three key services to help safeguard equipment from theft and assist with recovery if the equipment is stolen: HelpTech, IronWatch and IronCheck. HelpTech is the equipment registration service operated by NER. CRA members can register up to 1,000 items for free. HelpTech records are then fully searchable by law enforcement across North America, increasing the chances your equipment will be identified and returned if recovered. IronWatch is a monitoring service that tracks your equipment through an attached GPS device. There is no monthly fee. Using IronWatch, you can set up a “geo-fence” for stationary equipment that alerts the system if the machine moves outside of a designated zone. Finally, IronCheck is a due diligence check for buyers of used equipment. Goodall said to think of it as CarFax for the equipment industry.

The trick is law enforcement officers need the data in the database in order to make this work. That is where the CRA comes in. Through our association with the ARA, we are promoting this program to our members and giving them access to the database. The ability to register up to 1,000 items is a $3,500 value that CRA members receive for free with their membership dues.

The CRA will be appointing a director to sit on the board of the Canadian arm of the NER to help address the needs of our members. Look for the launch of the Canadian NER database in late April or May of this year.

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