Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Looking Back

December 4, 2017

Copel was an organization that united 16 of Canada’s leading electrical distributors. It was during the 1969 convention of CEDA that E. Mullaly of Saint John and Jeannine Guillevin Wood of Montreal first discussed the idea of forming an organization of independent distributors. Other discussions were held and a meeting in August 1969 brought together a group of independent electrical distributors from across Canada to form a consortium that would enable them to combine resources, experience and purchasing volume to compete more effectively with national distributors.

In its time, Copel was the largest organization of its kind. Copel provided a broad range of services to its shareholders, including

  • supplier programs; purchasing agreements
  • financial services
  • national sales agreements
  • regular contact with large, multi-location industries
  • marketing
  • sales management training
  • other services to assist shareholders in serving their customers more efficiently and effectively

For its shareholders, and for the manufacturers associated with Copel, the organization provided a valuable forum for the exchange of ideas. Through its national network of independent distributors and their 130 branches across Canada, the organization offered manufacturers of electrical products an important national link to end users. As the largest organization of its kind in Canada, Copel was dedicated to provide service at competitive prices.

All shareholders carried a complete range of products representing leading manufacturers, and were constantly augmenting them to meet the changing requirements of the marketplace; increasingly the emphasis was on electronic products.

Copel’s long-term relationships with its many suppliers reflected mutual stability, reliability and trust. mm

The shareholders of Copel were

  • A&I Supply Ltd.
  • R.E. Electric, a division of Chester Industrial Tool Supply Ltd.
  • Daigneault Industriel Inc.
  • Economy Electric Supply Limited
  • Electrozad Supply Co. Ltd.
  • Electrozad Supply Company (Waterloo) Ltd.
  • Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited
  • Gescan, a division of Chester Industrial Tool Supply Ltd.
  • Gescan, a division of Guillevin International Inc.
  • Guillevin International Inc.
  • Heap Nosworthy Ltd.
  • B. Horsman & Son Ltd.
  • Ideal Supply Company Limited
  • Independent Electric Co. Ltd.
  • Ward Johnson Electric Ltd.
  • C. Keddy Ltd; Lumen Inc.
  • McDowell Electric Ltd.

Each company was represented on the Copel Board of Directors. The needs of the organization were served by a permanent staff of six located in Montreal, and headed by Copel president Richard Taylor.

Since its founding, Copel grew and prospered; growth came through shareholder expansion and the acquisition of other distributors, but the emphasis was always on internal growth and there are no territorial restrictions.

Copel had the resources and people, inventory and services to meet every requirement. The Copel philosophy of people working together proved successful; for several years Copel outperformed the electrical wholesale industry. Participating shareholders, ranging in size from family-owned, single location, companies to firms with branches throughout several provinces, shared a commitment to professionalism.

In 1992, Copel merged with Affiliated Distributors (AD), which marked AD’s introduction to the Canadian market. Twenty years later (2012), AD merged with Independent Electrical Distributors (IED), doubling AD’s Canadian sales.




The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland has named Hubbell Lighting executive licensee of a technology that can suppress bacteria in the air and on surfaces using a narrow spectrum of visible light. The high intensity narrow spectrum lighting technology has been shown to reduce bacterial pathogens in the environment at a far greater rate than cleaning and disinfection alone.

“Our agreement with Hubbell Lighting opens the door for the food and beverage industry and other sectors to benefit from our continuous disinfection technology, helping them keep consumers even safer,” says Scott MacGregor, vice-principal of the University of Strathclyde and leader of the research team that developed the technology.

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A confirmation: the winds of change are now howling.

Several years ago, in a workshop at Electro-Federation Canada’s annual conference, a roundtable session described and debated the numerous disruptive technologies that are forcing us to think differently.

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Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished career in the electrical industry and more recently the lighting industry. None of this is by chance. Always in decision-making circles since beginning his career, Michael spends the first 10 years first at Siemens, and subsequently in lighting at Osram as Vice President Finance and Vice President Sales and Marketing. After that, he joins Philips Lighting.

Michael agreed to share a few moments with us to discuss his career trajectory, the industry, trends, worries, and wishes. A tour of his career is also a tour through a key period in the industry and a reflection of its adaptability to new technologies — from an expert's point of view.

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Changing Scene

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Bill Smith from Electrozad Supply Company Limited has been selected as this year’s recipient ...

Peers & Profiles

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Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the ...
Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for ...
Michael Gentile, President and CEO of Philips Lighting Canada, has had a long and distinguished ...
Gordon MacDonald is a cheerful, driven individual who loves to be challenged, a trait that suits ...
  Jordan Prins is an account manager at Wesco Distribution in Abbotsford, British Columbia. ...
Mike Marsh, President and CEO of SaskPower, has been a leading figure in Saskatchewan’s electricity ...
I didn’t wake up one day and go, “I want to work for my dad!” Actually, it was ...
    Ouellet Canada is celebrating 50 years in the Electrical Heating ...
  On February 27th Lumen opened their 36th branch in Ottawa, Ontario. ...

Laura Dempsey

Owen Hurst

Laura Dempsey has been working as an outside sales representative for E.B. Horsman & Son for over 15 years, and is a member of the BCEA U40 network of young professionals. She lives in Langley, BC and is proud of her position and work with E.B. Horsman, particularly as she is the second Dempsey generation to work for the company.

Laura’s mother Shelly has worked at E.B. Horsman for over 25 years, and instilled in Laura a determination to succeed. Laura followed in her mother’s footsteps after witnessing how much her mother enjoyed her work and the people she works with at E.B. Horsman.

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Laura Dempsey

Line Goyette

I've known John Sencich since CEW began publishing. He agreed from the outset to be part of the newsletter’s Editorial Board. His contribution was regular and sustained. Always present to answer my technical questions, and refer me to the right person for additional information as needed. Always available despite his role as senior leader of an influential company.

Over the past five years, many industry insiders have cited John Sencich when I asked them to name someone who had made a difference in their lives or had inspired them as a leader.

Read more: John Sencich

Looking Back

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DIgitalDigitalization is set to take a strong hold of all business models, transforming how companies access, monitor, engage with and service customers. Today’s customers are not passive consumers; they rely on real-time digital access to information to make purchasing decisions. Businesses must consider how to apply digital technologies and digitized data to connect with customers to help reshape their paths to purchase. This digital lens provides improvements to business functions, operations and overall processes by creating stronger insight and knowledge so businesses can take action.

The path towards digitalization has put the electrical supply channel at an important crossroad: the entire electrical value chain (suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, customers) will need to strongly consider how to move from a traditional model that has served the market well for decades, towards a new model that is connected, smart and highly efficient. But how does the industry evolve from a traditional model to an integrated ecosystem?

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EFC 2018 Scholarship Program

This year Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) will award $156,250 across 62 scholarships supported by manufacturers, distributors and associations.

The annual EFC Scholarship Program reflects an industry that understands its responsibility to attract future talent. In the face of technological, demographic, and socio-economic evolution, the employment landscape is in constant transformation resulting in substantial challenges for companies as they work to define and redefine their recruitment practices. Furthermore, as competition for the brightest and the best of the next generation of business leaders intensifies, it’s more important than ever to engage young people. 



Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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