Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

May 16, 2022

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Manufacturing sales rose 2.5% to $70.2 billion in March, the sixth consecutive monthly increase. Sales rose in 16 of 21 industries, led by the petroleum and coal (+9.1%), primary metal (+6.5%), paper (+9.3%), and chemical (+3.3%) product industries. Meanwhile, the machinery industry posted the largest decline (-4.9%).

On a quarterly basis, sales rose 6.5% in the first quarter of 2022, the seventh consecutive quarterly gain and the largest increase since the third quarter of 2020.

Sales in constant dollars were unchanged in March, indicating that the entire increase in current dollar sales was driven by higher prices as the Industrial Product Price Index rose 4.0%. Quarterly sales in volume terms increased 1.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

Petroleum sales continue to increase on higher prices

Sales in the petroleum and coal product industry increased 9.1% in March, entirely on higher prices as volumes sold declined 1.0%. Sales of petroleum and coal product rose 19.0% in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the fourth quarter of 2021. Higher demand due to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions as well as the uncertainty over energy supply due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine were responsible for the recent increase in prices of petroleum products. In March, prices of refined petroleum energy products (including liquid biofuels) rose 18.8%, while exports of refined energy products increased 25.9%.

Sales of primary metals reached a new record high, rising 6.5% to $5.8 billion in March. All primary metal industries posted higher sales, led by the alumina and aluminum production and processing (+47.9%) and iron and steel mills and ferro-alloy (+21.8%) industries. The gains were driven by higher prices of unwrought aluminum and aluminum alloys (+8.3%) and hot-rolled iron or steel products (+7.6%). The tight global supply of primary metals due to stricter measures in China related to the COVID-19 pandemic and sanctions against Russia due to its aggression in Ukraine led to increases in prices of many primary metals. Despite the month-over-month sales increase, sales on a quarterly basis were down 0.6% in the first quarter of 2022. Sales in real terms edged down 0.2% in March.

Following a 2.1% decline in February, paper product sales increased 9.3% to $2.7 billion in March on higher prices and volume sold. In real terms, sales were up 6.7% in March. Some paper manufacturers were able to ship their products in March following several delays due to port congestion. Year over year, sales of paper products rose 14.9% in March, while on a quarterly basis sales increased 1.3% in the first quarter of 2022.

Sales also increased in the chemical (+3.3%), motor vehicle (+4.7%) and motor vehicle parts (+6.4%) industries in March.

Sales in the machinery industry decreased the most, falling 4.9% to $3.6 billion in March following five consecutive month-over-month increases. Despite the decline, sales were 6.9% higher on a year-over-year basis in March and rose 3.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

Sales of other transportation equipment fell 41.0% to $227.8 million in March. The decline was attributed to seasonal changes in the production of recreational transportation equipment. Despite the decrease in March, sales in the other transportation equipment industry rose 15.9% in the first quarter of 2022.

Production of aerospace products and parts (-8.6%) and sales of food products (-0.6%) were also down in March.

Sales increase in all provinces, led by Ontario

Manufacturing sales increased in all provinces in March, led by Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

In Ontario, sales rose 2.4% to $30.1 billion in March following a 6.6% gain in February. Sales increased in 12 of 21 industries in March and were largest in the petroleum and coal (+10.3%), motor vehicle (+5.2%), and motor vehicle part (+6.8%) industries. Despite the ongoing global shortage of semiconductor parts, sales of motor vehicles in Ontario increased to their highest level since November 2020. Meanwhile, exports of motor vehicles and parts rose by 7.9% in March. On a quarterly basis, motor vehicle sales rose 6.9% in the first quarter of 2022, the third consecutive gain and the highest level since the fourth quarter of 2020.

In Alberta, sales rose 4.1% to $8.8 billion in March, the sixth consecutive monthly increase, primarily on higher sales of petroleum and coal product (+11.4%) and fabricated metals (+24.7%). The gains were partially offset by a 17.9% decline in sales of machinery.

Sales in Saskatchewan rose 11.1% to $2.2 billion in March, mainly on higher sales of chemicals, petroleum and coal product and primary metals industries. The gain in the chemical industry was driven by record high sales of pesticide and fertilizers. On a quarterly basis, total sales in Saskatchewan rose 9.4% in the first quarter of 2022.

Sales increase in all selected census metropolitan areas except Winnipeg

Starting with the release of manufacturing data for March, Statistics Canada now produces sales estimates for 3 new census metropolitan areas (CMAs)—Sherbrooke, Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, and Windsor—along with estimates for the 12 CMAs for which estimates were already being produced prior to this release. Manufacturing sales on an unadjusted and seasonally adjusted basis have been compiled from January 2018 to March 2022 and are available in table 16-10-0011-01.

Manufacturing sales increased in 14 of the 15 CMAs in March, led by Edmonton, Québec, and Toronto. Only Winnipeg posted a decline.

Sales in Edmonton increased 9.2% to $4.4 billion in March, the sixth consecutive month-over-month increase. The gain in March was almost entirely due to higher sales of petroleum and coal product (+16.0%).

In Québec, sales increased 16.9% to $2.2 billion in March mainly on higher sales in the petroleum and coal industry. Year over year, sales in Québec were up 47.2% compared with March 2021.

Sales in Toronto rose 2.5% to $11.7 billion in March, following a 6.4% increase in February on higher sales in 15 of 21 industries led by fabricated metals (+10.0%), petroleum and coal product (+30.6%), and food products (+2.1%). Year over year, total sales in Toronto rose 18.9% in March.

Record-high inventory levels continue

Total inventory levels marked another increase, rising 2.6% to $110.9 billion in March, on higher inventories of the primary metals (+6.8%), petroleum and coal product (+7.7%), and food (+4.3%) industries. The gains were driven by a higher value of raw materials which have been trending upward since January 2021 due to the supply chain disruptions and due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In March, total raw material inventories rose 2.8% from February, and were up 30.2% year over year.

The inventory-to-sales ratio was unchanged at 1.58 in March. This ratio measures the time, in months, that would be required to exhaust inventories if sales were to remain at their current level.

The total value of new orders reached a new record high, rising 1.4% to $71.9 billion in March, driven mostly by higher new orders of ship and boat building, computer and electronics product, and petroleum and coal product industries.

Capacity utilization rate increases on higher production

The capacity utilization rate (not seasonally adjusted) for the total manufacturing sector increased from 76.6% in February to 81.7% in March, the highest rate since May 2019.

The capacity utilization rates increased in all 21 industries in March, but were more pronounced in the transportation equipment (+10.4 percentage points), food (+5.3 percentage points), paper (+5.5 percentage points) and beverage and tobacco (+7.2 percentage points) product industries. Higher production of motor vehicle and motor vehicle parts were responsible for the increase in capacity utilization of the transportation equipment industry.


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CEW-31-UNEnvironment-WorldAccreditation-400.jpgClimate change poses very real risks to people and the environment. Extreme weather events like the destructive storm we just saw in Ottawa that left thousands without electricity for days, and damaged homes and critical infrastructure, are a stark reminder that we must take action, now.

Countries around the world agree – achieving a more sustainable future is a top priority. Commitments like the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the landmark Paris Agreement and the ISO London Declaration, bring nations into a common cause to undertake the ambitious efforts it takes to tackle one of our time’s most critical challenges.

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Selling ServicesBy David Gordon, President, Channel Marketing Group

As every distributor knows, there is a labor and driver crisis in every market. It affects hiring warehouse staff as well as drivers. Today’s competition for labor is further exacerbated by competitive environments that can pay $20 / hour plus benefits (aka Amazon and others.) Further, within the electrical industry, many electrical contractors are faced with their own staffing challenges.

Industries have talked about fee-based services and many industry leaders are seizing upon the opportunity to diversify their income stream, improve profitability AND add a valuable service to their customers.

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Eplan Elements CollaborationWhy Use Elements Collaboration

Elements Collaboration represents a new alternative to conventional Project Data Management softwares. It is is a low cost and effective alternative to your dedicated PDM. Here's why:

EPLAN is built from the ground up with features you value in a Project Data Management software. As such, it is faster and can be better integrated to your workflow. This means that you can potentially save on the cost of an additional software without sacrificing productivity.


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BirdRecently, Bird Construction Inc. was pleased to announce that it has been selected to lead the design and construction of a state-of-the-art, net-zero plant protein processing facility for Phyto Organix Foods Inc. in Strathmore, Alberta. The value of the progressive design-build contract is approximately $125 million.

Bird will lead the design and construction of the facility and the 3D connectivity to the processing equipment. The 100,000 square foot facility will be the first net-zero plant protein processing facility in North America, employing industry-leading technology solutions to recycle and reuse water, leverage low emission energy sources, and reduce overall energy consumption. 

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Statistics CanadaReal gross domestic product rose 1.1% in February, the largest monthly growth rate since March 2021. Inflationary pressure remained in April 2022, when the Canadian Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 6.8% year over year, a slight increase from March 2022 (+6.7%).

After surging by nearly 340,000 in February, employment rose by an additional 73,000 in March as Omicron-related restrictions eased, and was little changed in April. After reaching a record low of 5.3% in March, the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 5.2% in April.


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AD and TORBSAAD and Torbsa Limited are announcing an agreement to merge the two groups. The merger is expected to close July 1, 2022. Established in Ontario in 1966, Torbsa is a shareholder-owned group made up of twenty-seven independent building supplies distributors, with 48 locations across Canada.

Rob Dewar, president of AD Canada, discussed how Torbsa's strong leadership and financial success made the buying group an ideal match for AD. Rob Dewar, president of AD Canada, discussed how Torbsa's strong leadership and financial success made the buying group an ideal match for AD.


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The Harmonized Data Model (HDM) initiative is defining a unified data model in IDEA Connector that enables manufacturers to easily syndicate to multiple formats and empowers distributors’ eCommerce experiences with more consistent, normalized product data.


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AimliteAimLite is proud to announce that its Products Warranty has been awarded certification by the National Lighting Bureau’s (NLB) Trusted Warranty Program. The NLB Trusted Warranty Program recognizes excellence in lighting companies that meet objective quality standards and practices regarding their warranty administration.

In order to obtain that certification, AimLite was assessed based on five criteria: formal warranty process, warranty language, length of business/warranty insurance, technical evaluation, and claims review evaluation. By complying with the five evaluation criteria, AimLite clearly demonstrates its commitment to providing quality products and services to its customers.

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Franklin Empire Inc., the largest independently owned electrical distributor in Canada, and MONTONI are excited to launch the construction of the company’s new headquarters designed to support future growth. This family-owned 4th generation company is also celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. In summer 2023, Franklin Empire employees will move into their new facility of nearly 190,000-square-feet, conveniently located along Autoroute 40 at the junction of Autoroute 13 in Saint-Laurent and close to the Ericsson and VSL campuses developed by MONTONI. The building, which will be targeting a LEED certification, will triple the firm’s warehouse space and double its office area, while improving the customer experience and providing employees with a work environment adapted to the new reality of today’s job market.

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S&C Electric CompanyS&C Electric Company recently announced Anders Hultberg as its new president of S&C Electric Canada Ltd. Hultberg will assume his new role as the existing president, Angelo Gravina, transitions into retirement.

Hultberg’s vast industry experience includes developing and executing strategies and aligning complex operations to achieve sustainable business growth. Before joining S&C, Hultberg was the senior vice president and managing director of the high-voltage business for North America at Hitachi Energy (formerly ABB Power Grids). Hultberg’s 27-year career with ABB provided him with a variety of operational experience in production, operation, marketing, sales, and R&D. He also held numerous ABB leadership roles across the world, including the past nine years in Canada.

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“Larry’s experience and strong leadership are a driving force to tackle industry challenges and pursue IDEA’s roadmap. Today, with the increasing complexity and the increasing volume of data that needs to be exchanged, IDEA is focused on our mission to facilitate the exchange of complete, high-quality transactional and eCommerce product content and serve as the standards body for the electrical industry.” said David Oldfather, President and CEO of IDEA.

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