Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

June 29, 2021

Merertu Mogga FrissaBy Merertu Mogga Frissa

Someone once asked me why we struggle with diversity and inclusion in Canada. My response was that we have never taken the time to discuss the value of both as a society. While Canada identifies itself as a multicultural country, the diverse make-up of the population itself is made to exist in a vacuum and outside of what multiculturalism seeks to achieve. This oversight forces the discussion about racism to exist within the limits of communities impacted by it while completely removing it from conversations at social and institutional levels.

When racism is brought up as a risk factor to social, economic, and political equality, it is often dismissed. People distance themselves from it or altogether deny it. In learning opportunities about diversity and inclusion, people tiptoe around the topic of race. It is often blanketed under topics like awareness in the workplace, managing cultural differences, unconscious bias, managing difficult conversations, etc. Individuals who express that their race puts them at a disadvantage are silenced under the pretext of “overreacting,” “playing the race card,” or “being difficult to work with.” In the face of unfair treatment outside of workplace settings, experiences are dismissed as “must have done something.” The outcome of these reactions and interactions is generations of missed opportunities for removing systems that perpetuate racism and continued protection of individuals that should have been accountable for their actions.

When the early COVID-19 lockdown forced us to slow down, people found the time to consume what was on the news, including the murder of George Floyd in the United States. As the impact of his murder was felt by many in Canada, the topic of racism resurfaced in full force. For Black people who regularly experience racism, his death triggered many emotions and unpacked many experiences. It was a reminder of the unfair treatment they received from authorities, the seemingly small incidents that dehumanized them, the times they contemplated whether to report an incident, and the frustration they felt when they were asked to provide evidence even when someone lost their lives.

So today, I want to share my reflections on a few issues that are often overlooked when addressing racism in our workplaces and beyond.

Subtle racism

It is a natural human reaction to be outraged about something as tragic as death, especially when such brutality is witnessed. However, modern-day racism does not always take this crude and violent form, particularly in Canada. Racism in Canada is often subtle and is very well embedded in our institutions and systems: healthcare, housing, justice, education, political, financial, etc. — this subtle racism is as damaging as the overt racism that people rant about.

For instance, while the physical effects of the pandemic are felt similarly by everyone, reports show the disproportionate harm of COVID-19 on Indigenous and racialized communities due to a lower level of access to social and health services[1]. This finding is not surprising for those who have been raising the alarm and advocating for reforms to exclusionary socio-economic systems for so long.

At the individual level, subtle racism takes the form of internalized negative stereotypes and prejudices that are manifested in a variety of ways. Examples include associating people’s race to their competency, rationalizing that people are hired to just meet representation requirements, rationalizing away people’s racism experiences as unique individual incidents, equating the frustration of racism with “having an attitude” or being “too sensitive,” or getting defensive when people express their frustration, etc. All of these are highly exclusionary in nature. Clearly, every individual needs to rethink and re-evaluate subtle racism and examine the manners in which they are sustaining it.

Impacts of subtle racism

The economic and health impact of subtle racism is immense. I often wonder if people truly comprehend its impact on the communities experiencing it. A review of the lack of employment opportunities and exclusionary workplace practices can shed light on forms of institutionalized racism. According to recent data by BCG and CivicAction[2], Black university graduates earn only 80 cents for every dollar earned by white university graduates, even though they have the same credentials. Black employees are also twice likely as white employees to report experiencing racial discrimination in major decisions at workplaces. A report by Catalyst identifies that 52% of Indigenous people who responded to the survey indicated being regularly on guard against experiences of bias and experiencing low levels of psychological safety[3]. Subtle racism is rampant in Canada and it takes so many forms — not enough time to list them in this blog. People need to truly look for opportunities to understand its impact and work towards removing it.

Removing racism

The fight against racism does not start or end with supporting tributes, attending protests or a hashtag. While these are all important steps to highlighting the reality and removing racism, more work that corresponds with the perspective of communities affected by it is required. The focus should then be on recognizing the position of those in our society who continue to experience racism daily, rather than about how far the country has come simply because we experienced some unprecedented public outcry.

This brings me to my next area of concern. I often wonder if the outcry against racism will ever be successfully turned into practical solutions if people continue to reward themselves for how much support they have shown. I also have a genuine concern about anti-racism turning into a passing trend, especially in a social media society that enjoys a repost, loves buzzwords and is quick to jump onto the next big topic. We cannot afford to address racism casually through rhetoric — people must get real.

Taking action

It is my observation that the decision to act is often delayed until our interests converge with others. This attitude towards change is one of my biggest concerns. One main reason that organizations have not been keen on diversity, equity and inclusion is because often decision-makers have not identified them as critical issues that relate to their experience. Sadly, the delay or hesitation to challenging racism also owes itself to this reasoning. To address and work against racism successfully, removing such narrow approaches, especially those motivated by “what’s in it for me” or “the business case” is critical. Assessing efforts and intentions based on financial gain and not as a responsibility to fix this deeply engrained social problem is what has sustained racism for this long. I want to emphasize that, unless people and organizations adopt a broader and more inclusive approach that focuses on opportunities to transform experiences, we will not see progress against racism.

Race is a human invention created to categorize people and groups. It was applied as a colonial tool to set up systems of domination and oppression. What this means is that no one is born racist, racism is learned. Removing racism then requires intentionally unlearning the application of race-based categorization and evaluation of people’s place in society and our workplaces. Recognizing the role of race in how attitudes are developed, institutions and organizations are structured is an important step to move beyond futile rhetoric and symbolic gestures. Extremely diligent work that pushes every level of society and organizational structure towards drastic change is desperately needed. In this case, subtle racism which is rampant in our systems needs a unique consideration. Its existence is irrefutable.

Merertu Mogga Frissa is Program Manager of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Electricity Human Resources Canada (EHRC).


1. Indigenous Services Canada.

2. Nan Dasgupta, Vinay Shandal, Daniel Shadd, Andrew Segal, and in conjunction with CivicAction. (2020, December 14). The Pervasive Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada. Retrieved from The Reality of Anti-Black Racism in Canada | BCG;

3. Thorpe-Moscon, J. & Ohm, J. (2021). Building inclusion for Indigenous Peoples in Canadian workplaces. Catalyst.

Statistics CanadaThere were slightly fewer active businesses (-0.1%; -1,208) in May compared with a month earlier, marking the first time since May 2020 that the number of closures outpaced openings.

The number of business openings decreased by 11.5%, the largest percentage decrease since December 2018 and the second consecutive month with negative growth (Chart 1). The number of business closures declined by 2.9%, following a 2.5% increase in April. The decline in the number of business openings in May was largely driven by fewer entrants (-16.4%). The number of entrants in May was below the 2015-to-2019 average for the first time since August 2020. 

Read More




488 Days of COVIDBy John Kerr

Looking back to early 2020, the industry entered the first quarter with a sense of a solid year ahead, one that would easily eclipse 2019, and then in mid-March the brakes went on and relatively quickly.

On both the supplier and distribution sides, many took a reactionary stance and then quietly planned their next moves. Thinking differently, adding stock and doubling down on inventory, looking at alternative shipping methods and figuring out how to stay close to the customer are among the attributes of those that pivoted well and have come out of the dark in great shape.

Read More


Non-Mortgage Borrowing from Chartered Banks in March 2020The outstanding credit debt of private non-financial corporations doubled from the height of the financial crisis in 2008 to early 2020. At the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, businesses added a record $52.1 billion in credit debt to their balance sheets. However, according to a new study, as other sources of financing became available and businesses adapted to the pandemic, outstanding loan balances with banks declined for eight consecutive months.

The study Trends in Canadian business debt financing: Before and during COVID-19 looks at the types of credit debt private non-financial corporations incurred prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and examines how they used that liquidity to weather the economic turbulence during this period.

Read More


Investment in Building Construction - May 2021Investment in building construction cooled slightly in May, decreasing 1.9% to $19.4 billion. This was the first drop in seven months. Residential construction investment (-2.7%) was down for the first time since April 2020, while non-residential construction increased slightly.

On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction declined 2.7% to $14.8 billion in May.




Read More



David GordonBy David Gordon

As we transition from the pandemic many wonder about the future of sales, meaning, “What will the sales process (sales model) look like in the future,” and, essentially, “What is the role of / for outside salespeople?”

In reality, this question was asked pre-pandemic as management lamented that Sales wasn’t being as productive as they desired. Companies are always seeking to improve their processes, whether it is having salespeople better penetrate accounts, identify and call on new customers, use a different (new?) sales method...

Read More


Changing Scene

  • Prev
Beginning October 1st, 2021, we are pleased to announce CSA Enterprises Limited will be become the ...
 Canada’s National Electrical Trade Council (NETCO) is pleased to announce that IDEAL ...
IMARK Canada announces 2021 Award Winners-Oscan and Kidde take top honors.     ...
More ultraviolet (UV) radiation-emitting and ozone-generating devices such as lights and wands have ...
 Leviton Lighting Canada has announced David Janowski as the new Eastern Regional Sales ...
EdisonReport has announced their 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.  These Awards will be ...
The Executive of Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited has announced that Jason Krehl joined the team ...
 The Executive of Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited has announced that Scott Currier joined ...
The 2021 Sapphire Awards, one of the lighting industry’s top honors, announced ...
 David Gordon, President of Channel Marketing Group, will provide insights from the Rep ...


Signify“In the second quarter we saw an acceleration of the pace of recovery in comparison to the first three months of the year,” says CEO Eric Rondolat. “We successfully executed our strategy as demand for our connected lighting offers and our growth platforms remained strong.”

The consumer segment held its momentum and demand for conventional products proved resilient. The professional lighting segment showed sequential improvements, while still impacted by both extended lockdowns and supply constraints. Overall, we managed to improve the operating margin by 190 basis points and generated a solid free cash flow. 


Read More


Adrian ThomasSchneider Electric Canada, together with the France Canada Chamber of Commerce Ontario (FCCCO) is proud to announce Adrian Thomas as the newly elected President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Canada (EUCCAN). Thomas, who currently serves as the country president of Schneider Electric Canada is entrusted with continuing the growth of EUCCAN by reinforcing transatlantic cooperation between the European and Canadian business communities.  “I am deeply honoured for the opportunity to join EUCCAN as their new President and build on the growth they’ve experienced in recent years,” says Adrian Thomas, Country President of Schneider Electric Canada. 

Read More



Agents of ChangeAgents of Change is an event for stakeholders from Canada's electricity and beyond to build capacities in diversity, equity and inclusion.

Agents of Change is a one-day event focused on equipping attendees with the tools they need to address the challenges under-represented groups face in the workplace. Women, Indigenous people, racialized people, persons with disabilities, LGBQ+, gender diverse people and newcomers to Canada are under-represented in electricity and often face systemic barriers. We have the power to change this disparity and transform our sector into a paragon of equity.


Read More


Flemming Jensen, Jason Samuelian, and John ClancyLED lighting solutions manufacturer Espen Technology has announced three changes to its sales management team.

Flemming Jensen (left), previously was Vice President of the Central and South Regions, has been promoted to Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. Flemming brings over 40 years of industry experience in the distribution, ESCO, and agent markets. He will focus on continuing Espen’s top line growth, in the coming years.


Read More


Edison ReportEdisonReport has announced their 5th Annual Lifetime Achievement Awards.  These Awards will be presented the Tuesday evening, 26 OCT before LightFair begins on Wednesday, 27 OCT.

Judges for 2021 were Paul Pompeo, Nancy Clanton, and Donny Wall.  Clanton stated, “Selecting individuals for this award was extremely rewarding especially in identifying the leaders and innovators, including world class lighting designers and researchers, that truly have made a tremendous positive impact in our lighting industry.”



Read More


Peers & Profiles

  • Prev
Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ...
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 ...



Brett NicholdsBy Blake Marchand

Illumisoft Lighting is an innovative company headquartered in Ottawa that focuses on suspended ceiling troffer LED fixtures that utilize optical film technology to achieve a high level of performance and efficiency.

Their flagship product is the EcoWing, which is available for new construction and fixture in fixture retrofits. Their primary application target is office buildings, hospitals, and dealerships. Recent projects include the Department of National Defense building in Ottawa, AMPED Sports Lab, Queensway Carleton Hospital, and Surgenor Automotive Group.


Read More


Jeffrey MoyleBy Line Goyette

“The ongoing integration of Rexel Utility into our Canadian business platforms has underscored our responsibility as an organization to find creative solutions for today’s challenges, as well as to prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities.”

This quote from Jeffrey caught my attention. Vice President, Supplier & Digital Strategy at Rexel Canada Electrical Inc., Jeffrey has extensive experience in the industry and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a Master’s in Business Administration, focusing on internarial leadership.

Read More


Copper $US Dollar price per pound

Kerrwil Publications Great Place to Work. Certified December 2019 - December 2020

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2021 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil