Canadian Electrical Wholesaler


May 25, 2018

Looking BackBy Harry G. Horsman

The first secretary manager of CEDA was Mr. Dick Edmunds. Upon his retirement, Mr. Norman Franks — a retired executive of CGE — became our secretary. Similarly, on his retirement, Mr. Douglas McKellar — a retired executive with Northern Electric — became our third secretary manager.

There is no question in my mind that in our industry the stature of both Mr. Franks and Mr. McKellar enhanced the position of CEDA and we were and are indebted to them.

In addition, a long list of executive officers of CEDA willingly gave their time and knowledge for the benefit of all our members. As well, in each regional area where our national convention was being held, local members put in a tremendous amount of time and work. We are indebted forever to all those members past and present.

I suppose the perennial question which faces our manager, our executive nationally, and our regional directors, both from the members and from prospective members is “What has CEDA done for me lately?” Or, “What can CEDA do for me?”

Speaking for Western Canada, and I presume for the Maritimes and Newfoundland (one half hour earlier), since CEDA’s inception the monetary gains have been considerable. The list of products on which we have gained equal treatment by manufacturers is long. I have to state here that our Central Division (Ontario-Quebec) members took up the inequality of treatment as if it were their own. All of us enjoy that equality today. There has never been a better example of that phrase, “All for one and one for all.”

Some of the problems that were solved by CEDA with the cooperation of the national membership are worth noting:

  • Wiring devices such as G.E., Smith and Stone, etc. were the first anomaly that CEDA rectified. While these products historically were prepaid across Canada from Lakehead West, our then margin from the trade price was 21% vs. 23% in the Central Division of Canada. It was literally amazing to us in the west that this inequality existed.
  • Motor controls — General Electric with their own manufactured, and Northern Electric’s exclusive with Cutler Hammer, were sole distributors. The Square-D Company was instrumental in opening up these products to the independent distributors. Many years later Allen-Bradley and other foreign manufactured products became available.
  • Pole line hardware simply could not be purchased by the independent distributor.
  • Wire and cable manufacturers, while recognizing the independent distributor, had many products that were in the category of non-distributor items. Over the years CEDA has been instrumental in increasing the list of distributor products.

Over and above all of the business aspects of CEDA, I have always considered the friendships and the shop talk beyond any formal program have been well worth the price of admission.

Finally, I recall a western Division meeting NAED Convention in Victoria BC (We in BC exchanged invitations with them over several years on our CEDA annual western conventions.) Since they always invited their ladies to each convention, we learned to reciprocate, and later we included the ladies in our own national conventions. From NAED we also adopted the principle of paying the airfare of one delegate from each member to our annual convention. (Note: this practice was discontinued in 1981.) This, I am sure, helped maintain our high rate of membership attendance.

The courage, foresight and dedication of that group of men in 1934 has my admiration and respect, as well as a debt that is impossible for me to match, let alone pay in kind.

In 1979, Harry G. Horsman was named the first honourary life member of CEDA.


ISAWith their advanced, microprocessor-based technologies, today's industrial automation and control systems (IACS) deliver much-improved performance and features compared to their analog counterparts. 

Unfortunately, these newer, networked systems-with their ability to be configured remotely-are more vulnerable to cyberattack.

Security PHA Review for Consequence-Based Cybersecurity, a new book published by the International Society of Automation (ISA), introduces an easy-to-follow, cost-effective methodology for safeguarding critical infrastructure and process industry facilities from cyberwarfare and other forms of cyber-risks.

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Jeff MowattBy Jeff Mowatt

One of the biggest frustrations I hear from my clients is the amount of time and effort it takes for them to put together proposals, particularly those that don’t end up winning the business. Unfortunately, the standard approach to making client proposals usually involves describing your products or services, including some corporate background, adding a few references, and finishing with pricing information. 

This is the last approach you want to take. It practically guarantees you’ll miss the mark. And worse, preparing and delivering these kinds of proposals soaks up significant time and resources that could be better spent elsewhere.

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David GordonBy David Gordon

During recent calls with distributors to get the pulse of the industry, one area we touched on is eCommerce and specifically the activity that they are seeing from their customers, the investments that they are making, and how it is impacting their overall business. A few trends emerged. 



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National Investment in Building ConstructionTotal investment in building construction increased 2.2% in May to $15.2 billion. Gains in the residential sector (+2.8% to $10.4 billion) led the increase, while the non-residential sector edged up 0.9% to $4.8 billion. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction rose 1.8% to $12.7 billion.

Gap in investment between multi-unit and single-unit dwellings continues to grow

Investment in multi-unit dwellings rose 7.6% in May to $5.5 billion, while investment in single-unit dwellings declined 2.2% to $4.9 billion.

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AztecAztec Electrical Supply is one of the most dynamic, fastest growing electrical and automation distributors in Canada. The supplier has four Ontario locations, in Concord, Cambridge, Burlington and Mississauga.

They specialize in supplying quality automation and electrical products to electrical contractors, manufacturing plants, OEMs and custom machine builders. Their comprehensive inventory includes electrical and pneumatic products for breakdowns and emergencies, as well as everyday contractor and MRO requirements. They also work closely with their partners to source specialty products that may be required for major projects.

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Changing Scene

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Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC) has issued a call for nominations for the 2019 Awards of ...
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ArlingtonArlington Industries has announced the appointment of Dave Welsh to the newly created position of Business Development Manager.

In his new role Welsh will call on key contractors, projects and job sites to review installation issues and determine potential solutions as the basis for new product ideas by Arlington’s product development team.

Mr. Welsh is a Master Electrician. He was the Chief Electrical Inspector for four areas in Michigan. At the same time, he was the Program Coordinator and Instructor for the Electrical Technology.


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ABB PortalThe ABB eFinder portal simplifies the process of locating inventory from ABB’s selection of products used for connection and transmission of electrical power. Customers may now search online for ABB Installation Products and can purchase them from the distributor who has the products in stock. Once the product is located, the customer may buy it from the distributor by connecting directly to the distributor’s e-commerce page and placing the products in an online shopping cart for the final purchase transaction.




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OmnicableOmni Cable Corporation, headquartered in West Chester, PA, hs announced that it has signed an agreement to be acquired by a subsidiary of Dot Holdings Co (DHC), which is owned by Dot Family Holdings (DFH), and join its portfolio of companies.

DFH is focused exclusively on acquiring leading middle-market distribution companies with a special interest in master/two-step distribution and any national distribution models. DFH’s approach to acquiring and holding companies for the long term and investing for growth made them an ideal partner for OmniCable. 

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Peers & Profiles

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Earlier this month Canadian Electrical Wholesaler had the pleasure of tabling a few questions to ...
Canadian Electrical Wholesaler was able to catch up with Sonepar Canada’s Stacey Corley, which was ...
OmniCable was founded in 1977 by partners with deep experience in the US electrical marketplace. ...
On a regular basis, our publications profile members of our industry through their responses to a ...
First and foremost, sitting down with Susan Uthayakumar feels more like sitting down and conversing ...
Sales of electrical supplies from full-line electrical distributors capture the geographic ...
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 ...


House of ElectricalHouse of Electrical Supplies is a distribution company that specializes in ‘service’. They go beyond what a standard supplier provides, not just with knowledgeable employees, but with a compliment of support services.

From small construction to sophisticated industrial projects, House of Electrical stocks electrical supplies for a wide range of applications. For over 30 years, they have been servicing clients in the industrial, OEM, entertainment and construction markets across the greater metropolitan Toronto area. Their product solutions range from electrical, automation, safety, lighting and portable power distribution.

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Looking Back

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The best memory I keep from CEDA is the way that they accepted me when I came into the business. ...
In the 1930s to 1940s, CEDA’s Western Canada membership was very stable with old line independent ...
Prior to the late 1950s there was little if any involvement in CEDA by the so-called “national ...
  As 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we take a look back at an aspect of ...

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