Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

Dec 27, 2020

October GDPReal gross domestic product (GDP) grew for the sixth consecutive month, up 0.4% in October following a 0.8% increase in September. The upward movement of real GDP continued to offset the steepest drops on record in Canadian economic activity observed in March and April. Total economic activity was about 4% below February's pre-pandemic level.

Both goods-producing (+0.1%) and services-producing (+0.5%) industries were up as 16 of 20 industrial sectors posted increases in October.

Preliminary information indicates an approximate 0.4% increase in real GDP for November. Manufacturing, wholesale trade and finance and insurance led the growth, while construction tempered the increase. Owing to its preliminary nature, the estimate will be revised on January 29, 2021, with the release of the official GDP data for November.

Finance and insurance expands

The finance and insurance sector increased 0.8% in October, on widespread growth across all subsectors.

The momentum, seen in the third quarter in the securities markets, continued into October as the highest level of trading activity of federal government bonds—along with increased activity in other securities such as the money market and the repo bond market—contributed to a 2.2% growth in financial investment services and a 0.7% gain in depository credit intermediation and monetary authorities. Insurance carriers and related activities were up for the sixth consecutive month, increasing 0.4% in October.

Manufacturing declines

Following five months of growth, the manufacturing sector contracted 0.8% in October, largely as result of lower inventory formation.

Durable manufacturing declined 2.5% in October as 7 of 10 subsectors were down. Contributing the most to the decline were transportation equipment (-3.7%), machinery (-4.1%) and fabricated metal product manufacturing (-3.5%), while wood products (+2.8%) and miscellaneous manufacturing (+1.7%) were up. Non-durable manufacturing rose 1.2% as six of nine subsectors were up, led by petroleum and coal products (+6.5%) and plastics and rubber products (+4.3%).

Professional services keep growing

The professional services sector grew 1.0% in October, up for the sixth consecutive month, as all types of service grew. Computer systems design and related services led the growth with a 1.1% increase in October. With the exception of declines in March and April, the industry has been continuously growing since November 2016. Legal services (+1.8%), management, scientific and technical consulting services (+1.6%) and architectural, engineering and related services (+0.8%) were other notable contributors.

Public sector continues to grow

The public sector (educational services, health care and social assistance, and public administration) grew 0.7% in October, as all three components were up. Health care and social assistance rose 0.9% as all subsectors, except for hospitals (-0.5%), increased. Educational services were up for the sixth consecutive month, rising 0.9% in the month. October marked the first full month of the new school year, following a late start in September, as continued efforts by elementary and secondary school teachers, support staff and administrators across the country to guide students (in-person or virtually) through a schoolyear like no other led to a 1.8% increase in elementary and secondary schools. Public administration grew 0.4%. 

Accommodation and food services down

Activity in the accommodation and food services sector declined for the second consecutive month, contracting 3.9% in October, as momentum from the spring-reopening and summer season continued to dissipate. As the mercury began to drop across the country—effectively bringing to a close "al fresco" dining season—and the number of COVID-19 cases and public health measures related to indoor dining increased, the output of food services and drinking places fell 4.5% in October. Aside from the contractions in March and April, this was the largest monthly decline in the subsector since January 1991.

Accommodation services were down 2.1% as continued domestic and international travel restrictions, along with rising COVID-19 cases across the country, contributed to the pullback in the subsector.

Construction grows across most types of activity

Following a 0.6% decrease in September, the construction sector grew 0.7% in October, as the majority of subsectors increased.

Residential construction grew 1.9% in October as single-unit and multi-unit dwelling construction, along with home alterations and improvements, all contributed to the sixth consecutive monthly growth. Repair construction increased 1.4%, while engineering and other construction edged up 0.3%. Non-residential construction was down for the fourth consecutive month, declining 2.1% in October, as all three types of non-residential construction (commercial, industrial and public) decreased.

Wholesale resumes growth

The wholesale trade sector was up 0.8% in October as six of nine subsectors contributed to the growth. With the fourth expansion in the last six months, the sector largely offset declines experienced in March and April and edged closer to the pre-pandemic level of activity. Machinery, equipment and supplies wholesaling (+1.9%) led the growth as higher imports and exports of all types of machinery commodities contributed to increases in the subsector. Building materials and supplies wholesaling was up 2.6%, benefiting from increased construction activity.

Offsetting some of the growth were food, beverage and tobacco (-1.7%) and petroleum and petroleum products wholesaling (-2.3%).

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction essentially unchanged

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction was essentially unchanged in October as gains in oil and gas extraction and support activities offset mining and quarrying contractions. Oil and gas extraction (+1.2%) grew for the second month in a row, as a 3.3% increase in oil sands extraction more than offset a 1.0% decline in oil and gas extraction (except oil sands). Support activities for mining, and oil and gas extraction grew 2.4% on account of higher rigging services and support activities for mining. Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) decreased 3.7%, as a decline in potash mining (-25.1%) and metal ore mining (-1.8%) more than offset a 13.0% uptick in coal mining. 

Other industries

Following five months of growth to reach unprecedented record-setting levels, activity at the offices of real estate agents and brokers decreased 1.9% in October, as lower housing resale activity in the Greater Toronto, Hamilton-Burlington and the Greater Vancouver areas contributed most to the decline. Nevertheless, the level of activity was second only to the peak reached in September.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting rose 1.6% in October, up for the third consecutive month, as three of five subsectors grew. Higher crop production (+2.3%), stemming from elevated grain and cannabis production, contributed the most to the growth.

Utilities rose 0.9% in October, largely offsetting two previous monthly declines, as higher electric power generation, transmission and distribution (+0.7%) and natural gas distribution (+3.1%) contributed to the growth.

Transportation and warehousing grew 0.8% in October, as 7 of 10 subsectors were up, led by pipeline transportation (+2.9%) of both oil and natural gas and support activities for transportation (+1.7%). Truck transportation (-0.8%) and postal service, couriers and messaging services (-1.1%) offset some of the growth.

Retail trade edged up 0.3% in October as the 10 subsectors were evenly split between increases and decreases.

Source: Statistics Canada,

Nexans Webinar - Key 2021 Electrical Code Changes Impacting Wire and Cable

Nexans Free WebinarJoin NEXANS for a free webinar with Isaac Müller, Applications Engineer for Nexans as he reviews and discusses the changes to the 2021 Canadian Electrical Code related to wire and cable. This free webinar will take place Wed, Jan 27, 2021 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EST.

This webinar includes:
- Updated rules to protect cables (12-514,12-516)
- New conditions of use for wire & cable (Table 19)
- An opportunity to ask your questions


Click here to register today.

Pandemic StudyThe year 2020 was filled with surprises. One of them was business solvency.

Insolvencies were down by almost one-third year over year during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic and were relatively stable in the third quarter. At the height of this century’s previous economic shocks, insolvencies rose by 10% or more. A new study looks at insolvencies during the largest economic upheaval of our lifetime.




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Douglas BaldwinBy John Kerr

My father asked me to lunch one day and told me he wanted very much to meet with someone in the electrical industry who meant a lot to him, and whose friendship he wanted to share with me. This lunch, in 1982, was with Doug Baldwin.

As lunch progressed, I discovered these men shared many bonds after having met years before in Winnipeg. Doug was with Federal Pioneer at that time, my father with Triangle Conduit & Cable. It seems they hit it off and my father’s wry sense of humour was trumped only by Doug’s. 

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Wholesale Sales - November 2020Wholesale sales grew for the seventh consecutive month in November — up 0.7% to an all-time high of $67.4 billion. Five of seven subsectors reported stronger sales, led by the machinery, equipment and supplies subsector and the building material and supplies subsector. Notably, the increase reflects higher domestic sales of Canadian goods, as both imports and exports of key commodities fell in November.

Wholesale trade volumes increased 0.9% in November.



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Sean BernardBy Sean Bernard

Last year was like none other and one that we all hope never to endure again. The impact on our personal and professional lives has been dramatic, simultaneously universal and unique to each of us.

We have all heard about and experienced the heartache of not spending time with and not celebrating milestones with our extended families, not being able to take those planned vacations, and having to deal with the stresses and challenges of virtual learning with our kids.


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Changing Scene

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Driven by ever increasing level of sales approaching $6.25 billion dollars across the expanding ...
Signify Canada has announced David Grinstead, Market Leader, Canada, Signify will retire at the end ...
Bartle & Gibson has announced that Greg Stephenson has officially joined the ...
Sean Bernard and Heather Jackson continue their progression through IDEAL Canada's leadership ...
Teledyne Technologies Incorporated and FLIR Systems, Inc.jointly announced that they have entered ...
What will it mean for Canada when Joe Biden officially becomes president of the United States of ...
Sonepar Canada is pleased to announce the appointment of Roger Gray as Texcan Ontario’s new Branch ...
Westburne Canada has announced the appointment of Rick Di Danieli to the role of Director, ...
Halco Lighting Technologies, a lighting manufacturer with a portfolio of lighting solutions ...


Martin Stephenson Signify Canada has announced David Grinstead, Market Leader, Canada, Signify will retire at the end of the month. "We thank David for his contributions, passion and dedication to the company and industry," said the company via press release.

Martin Stephenson will take on the Market Leader, Canada role in addition to his current position as Head of North American Systems & Services at Signify. He reports to Kevin Poyck, Market Group Leader, Americas.




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Greg StephensonBartle & Gibson has announced that Greg Stephenson has officially joined the Electrical Supply Division (ESD) of the AD Canada Electrical Divisional Board effective January 4th, 2021.

Greg is the Senior Vice President Electrical at Bartle & Gibson, based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is now entering his 27th year in the Electrical Industry and he originally began his career working for another proud AD Member, McLoughlan Supplies Ltd in St, John’s NL. During his career, Greg has also worked for many key suppliers such as, Eaton, Thomas & Betts and Siemens.



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Peers & Profiles

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Ariane Cardinal is Director of Planning, Purchasing, and Distribution with Stelpro.   ...
Following Groupe Stelpro’s recent acquisition of floor heating system manufacturer Flextherm, Yves ...
Electrimat is an independent Quebec-owned company that has specialized for 40 years in the ...
In July, Eaton announced that Vice President, Channel – Electrical Sector, Matt Cleary would be ...
Mission Technical Solutions is a recently established sales agency founded by industry veteran ...
Omid Nadi, Trade Marketing Manager with Ledvance, is a Ryerson University grad coming out of their ...

Ariane CardinalBy Blake Marchand

Ariane Cardinal is Director of Planning, Purchasing, and Distribution with Stelpro. Ariane owns a bachelor’s degree in Engineering, although she said, “I always knew, when I was doing engineering, that I wanted to have a career more oriented towards management.”

After earning her degree, she did an internship with a company in the gas industry based out of Paris, France, which is where she was introduced to supply chain management. Ariane noted she was interested in the problem-solving aspects of supply chain, which meshed well with her engineering background. 

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Copper $US Dollar price per pound

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