Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

October 4, 2021

EIN Swati Vora EFC 400By: Swati Vora-Patel, Electro-Federation Canada

As a new year draws near and strategic plans roll out, business leaders everywhere are keeping a close watch on drivers that are setting up new baselines for market demand and opportunities. The pandemic has reset markets, lowering demand in core segments while opening the door to new and emerging areas.

At a recent EFC conference over 500 industry members participated in a two-day online forum to explore the pandemic’s impacts on four key areas affecting our industry: markets, customers, supply chains and employees. The conference featured 17 sessions that addressed trends in these core areas and profiled new opportunities that are cycling in to help members rebound and emerge stronger than before.

EFC presented its latest research report (“Covid-19 Impacts and Opportunities for the Canadian Electrical Industry”) which included, among other findings, an outlook on construction trends and  mile markers that signal where the market spend might be as this industry moves beyond the pandemic. EFC also invited Alex Carrick from ConstructConnect (CanaData) to provide insights on construction forecasts in a post-pandemic era. The following is a summary of key insights:

New Construction Baselines

While the construction market has taken a significant hit during the past 18 months (Canadian construction starts are pegged at 1.7% this year), the market is expected to move towards steady recovery in 2022. This growth is expected to be largely driven by mega projects in these key segments:

Commercial: Although office building construction is not expected to reach pre-pandemic levels until 2025, data centre development is on the rise due to growing digital infrastructure requirements for remote work, online trading, entertainment streaming, 5G technology and artificial intelligence. According to CBRE, Canada has nearly 280 data centres operating, ranking fifth globally for data centre density. While some centres are new developments, many legacy printing facilities are being converted to support the growth of data centres. View this video to tour Canada’s largest data centre, which was once home to the Toronto Star facility in Vaughan, Ontario.



Institutional/Governmental: The outlook for new construction in this segment is robust. Hospital construction is expected to increase 64% in 2021 largely due to the aging population of Canadians. According to ConstructConnect, new hospital construction in 2020 and 2021 has grown more than eight-fold, year-over-year, due in part to large projects in Vancouver and Toronto. Advances in sustainability will also increase infrastructure spend in wind, solar and battery plant electrification to fulfill ‘greening’ goals for transportation, HVAC systems and liquefied natural gas (LNG) production.

Industrial: Canada has gained some growth in industrial construction from onshoring due to investments in production capacity and the increased automation of industrial processes. Further growth in this segment is attributed to distribution centre expansions and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

  • Distribution centres: Canada’s population density in cities and consumer expectations for real-time, on-demand access to products and services, are driving requirements for decentralized distribution and amplifying the need for ‘15-minute cities’ 
  • LNG projects: according to the International Energy Agency, natural gas demand will return to pre-Covid levels, fueling the start of nearly 20 LNG projects that have been proposed in Canada: 13 in British Columbia, two in Quebec and three in Nova Scotia – with a total proposed export capacity of 216 million tons per annum (mtpa) of LNG. It’s estimated that the equivalent of 30 mtpa LNG exports from British Columbia could add nearly $7.4 billion to Canada’s annual economy over the next 30 years and raise national employment by an annual average of 65,000 jobs.

Residential: The pandemic has catapulted this segment to new heights! The housing market soared more than 50% above its long-term average of 200,000 units during the first half of 2021. While the residential market only accounts for 12% of the full electrical market mix (2021 Pathfinder Benchmarking Report), this segment will be an area for growth as homes continue to play a greater role in Canadians’ daily lives and will require ongoing adaptation to accommodate work-from-home areas and multi-use spaces.

For a comprehensive overview of these and other projections, download ConstructConnect’s Fall 2021 forecast report and visit

The Silver Lining: New Market Opportunity

While this pandemic has taken a toll on businesses and the industry at large, it has also paved a path for new opportunities to allow leaders to assess and strategize evolving market needs to emerge stronger. Mega projects in commercial, institutional, industrial and residential markets will drive the construction industry forward and will continue to place reliance on electrical and automation equipment to support infrastructure development and health and safety protocols for physical distancing, sanitization and air quality. With construction growth on the horizon and new product requirements that allow safer work environments, it is time to renew strategies and proceed into the new year with optimism!







GescanMeet Doug Palmer, Lighting Specialist for the Manitoba region working out of Gescan's Winnipeg office. He helps determine the most efficient and cost-effective lighting solutions for your commercial or industrial project. From new-build layouts to retrofit of existing spaces and interior/exterior lighting solutions, Doug provides a one-stop-shop of lighting expertise.

In addition, Doug supports the application process that allows business owners to receive rebates through Efficiency Manitoba’s Business Lighting Program.



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Statistics CanadaInvestment in building construction increased 4.0% in February, reaching $20.0 billion for the first time. Most provinces reported gains, with Quebec accounting for over 50% of the increase. On a constant dollar basis (2012=100), investment in building construction increased 3.9% to $12.7 billion.

Residential construction continues to show strength

Investment in single family homes rose 4.9% to $8.0 billion in February. Increases were posted in seven provinces, led by Ontario (+5.3%) and Quebec (+8.2%).


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HousingBy Linda Longo, Managing Editor, Electrical Trends

Electrical distributors who do big business with contractors and electricians in new home construction will struggle through another tumultuous year of trying to satisfy record-setting demand while facing down materials shortages. According to recent housing reports, home buyer demand remains strong, but supply chain troubles are holding back growth.

Nationally the numbers will be challenging while within specific markets there could be growth, but supply chain issues could dominate and prolong residential construction projects.


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Electric Shock Podcast Interviewby Daniela De Marco, Marketing Manager, EFC

"Electrical work is evidently dangerous. Electrocution is one of the top six causes of occupational deaths in Canada and the U.S." according to Canadian Standards Association & the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (2012). More often than not, electrical workers are taking unnecessary risks by working on a job site energized. 

In EFC's electro|POD "Electric Shock" podcast episode, Gurvinder Chopra, VP of Standards and Regulation, and I connected with experts to explore this topic further. We interviewed Robert Mitchell from Electrical Safety Authority (ESA), the Safety and Technical Program Advisor, and Kaylyn Kretschmer...

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Franklin EmpireThe year was 1942 and Abraham Backman began humbly, working out of his garage in his Montreal home, until he slowly built up a volume of business to afford a modest storefront. This year Franklin Empire celebrates our 80th anniversary, with the 4th generation of family at the helm.

"Today, we are the largest independently owned electrical distributor in Canada, with over 500 employees, 23 branch locations, five assembly and repair shops. and an inventory investment exceeding $35 million," said the company via LinkedIn.



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Changing Scene

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Gerrie ElectricThe Executive of Gerrie Electric Wholesale Limited announced the acquisition of FM Supply, effective April 1, 2022. They will continue to operate as FM Supply and do not anticipate changes in the way they currently do business with their locations in Waterloo and Stratford; they will now however have access to Gerrie’s inventory and a broader range of products and services.

“The team at FM Supply have a great reputation for treating their customers’ business like our business and work together to deliver an outstanding customer experience. When Colin Moore, Chris Watamanuk and I came to the decision to sell, we wanted to ensure that these customer traditions would be continued and supported in the future” 

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Johnson ControlsJohnson Controls announced findings from the 15th annual Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey, which revealed that 62 percent of organizations surveyed expect to increase investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, or smart building technology in 2022, indicating a return to pre-pandemic levels.

The latest report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advised that global scale transformation is urgently needed to combat climate change, however, the Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator Survey found that organizations are still facing challenges to accelerate their sustainability efforts in key areas. 


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John RichardsonThe EFC announced the appointment of John Richardson to the executive position of Vice-Chair for the CMG Committee.

John is Vice-President, Sales with ANAMET Canada and has been in the electrical industry for more than 30 years. ANAMET manufactures flexible conduits in a newly expanded factory in Eastern Ontario. John has served on the CMG Committee for the past few years and has joined the ranks of leading the committee with CMG Chair, Jeff Beare, Stanpro. Both John and Jeff will work closely with CMG Team Lead, Nathalie Lajoie, EFC.


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Sandra PedroThe EFC announced that Sandra Pedro will be joining the company as the new Vice President of Membership and Corporate Partners, effective Monday, April 18, 2022. John Jefkins is retiring from his position on May 6th and will work with Sandra over the next three weeks to ensure a smooth transition.

Sandra comes with strong industry experience, previously with Schneider Electric in the Global Digital Energy Division as Director of Global Offer Management, and various sales and channel roles throughout her career at Schneider.

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Nexans Completes Centelsa AcquisitionNexans recently announced the successful completion of its acquisition of Centelsa, a premium cable manufacturer in Latin America specializing in building and utilities applications, from Xignux S.A. (headquartered in Mexico) following receipt of regulatory clearance. This transaction completes an additional milestone of Nexans’ strategy to become a Pure Electrification Player focusing on the overall value chain originating in generation, and flowing through transmission, distribution, and usage of sustainable energy.

With a total turnover  of more than US$ 339 million in 2021, Centelsa’s three manufacturing plants in Cali, Colombia and their distribution center in Ecuador will complement Nexans’ presence in Latin America. 

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Peers & Profiles

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SESCO CDCThe Sonepar Ontario Region is proud to announce the relocation of their SESCO Central Distribution Centre (CDC) to its new location in Brampton, ON.

This move has facilitated an amalgamation between Texcan’s large Brampton branch and SESCO’s CDC, as both businesses work together within one facility for the first time. The expansion of the building and the merging of the Operating Companies (OpCos) will assist with facilitating their customer service value proposition.




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