CKCA Local MeetUp – BC April 25 2024

CKCA Local MeetUp – BC

Details for the next scheduled event are below. Hope you can make it!

Thanks to our MeetUp sponsor:

Where: Troico – 1308 Ketch Court, Coquitlam, BC

When: April 25, 2024 at 4:30 pm

Register here »


After a year of dedicated hard work and determination, we’re excited to announce that Troico is making the transition to wholesale! This transition marks a significant milestone in our journey and we are thrilled to share all our successes and hiccups along the way. Along with this exciting change we will also be unveiling of Troico newly renovated showroom! Experience firsthand the latest innovations and trends in kitchen design as we showcase our stunning renovations.

What to Expect:

  1. Guided tours of our redesigned showroom, featuring new and on trend kitchen displays and installations.
  2. Meet our team of expert designers and craftsmen, ready to discuss all things kitchen related.
  3. Live demonstrations of our cutting-edge manufacturing processes and materials
  4. Locally made refreshments and snacks

Secure your spot at this exciting event and be among the first to witness the future of kitchen design with Troico!

What made these companies successful?

CKCA is proud of all its members. Canada has an excellent reputation worldwide for it’s woodworking skills and our history goes back a long way. But in this modern era, how do companies remain competitive while still offering a highly customizable product? Each company has carved out (no pun intended!) their own path and their stories,  their passion and commitment will have you wanting to work with them – and we want that too. We want consumers to buy Canadian-build kitchen cabinetry and there are so many excellent reasons to work with CKCA members.

In 2023 we collected a number of stories to share and inspire.What are the ingredients for success? Be sure to check out what these members say here.

Kitchen Cabinet Production Worker Training Program – A model of success

The Kitchen Cabinet Production Worker Training Program – you need trained workers and we’re creating a supply stream

December 2023

CKCA is thrilled to see a second Cohort running for this training program that was piloted in BC in early 2023. Working in partnership with Northwest Skills, CKCA hopes to expand this program across the country and continue to see the successful placement of these students into jobs that need to be filled.  Many students are new residents to Canada who not only learn skills for employment, these are universal skills that offer a foundation to help them settle in Canada. Work prospects in the kitchen cabinet industry remain strong as our demand for housing continues.  We’re excited to see this program continue and expand.

The program was created in 2023 in direct response to CKCA members stating there was a need for labour and not just anyone but hires who could hit the ground running. Under the Northwest Industries Association, who has extensive experience as an association running similar employment training, this 9-week government funded training program was designed to prepare unemployed and underemployed persons for work within the Kitchen Cabinet sector. Working closely with CKCA members to understand their needs and skill requirements in potential employees, the Northwest Skills Institute created a hands on training program focused on the use of power and hand tools where students built projects each week, the application of safety, how to create and read blueprints, numeracy skills around imperial to metric conversion, quality control measures, finishing skills using sanders, spray paint guns, stain and varnish, online CNC training, Forklift Theory, Daily Kaizen, OFA 1, WHMIS and much more.

As the training is full time, 9am-4pm, Mon-Fri, it also increased the job skills of participants in terms of punctuality, attendance, attitude, working with and communicating with others, computer skills for online content, set up and take down of tools and equipment, continuous learning and the importance of a clean working environment.

Weekly tours with CKCA members helped students learn about common equipment, the application of Kaizen at work, production procedures, job order tracking software and systems, and opportunities within this sector. Employers in turn had the opportunity to promote their companies and to meet potential hires ahead of time. CKCA would like to sincerely thank those participating companies!

The first cohort started May 15th-July 15th with 15 participants. Fieldtrips included: Nickels, Sunrise Kitchens, Sofo Kitchens, A&A Holz, and Merit Kitchens. For job placements, Merit Kitchens hired 2 persons with Kitchen Makeover, I Love Kitchens, Armstrong Cabinets, WestCoast Mouldings and Millwork, and Makihardwood Flooring all hiring at least one. A&A Holz and Sunrise Kitchens also provided opportunities for interviews.

Update – Dec. 2, 2023

Cohort 2 started Oct 2nd-Dec 2nd with another 15 students ready to start their new careers within this sector. The diversity within the cohorts was fantastic with newcomers from Afghanistan, Vietnam, Iran, India and local born Canadians. There are younger persons just starting their working careers and those with extensive experience looking to change. All are seeking the opportunity to attain training and learn more about this exciting industry.

This group has now finished their program on December 1st and it is a proven model of success in terms of recruitment, skills training and job placements. Northwest Skills is actively looking to help place this next group of students in jobs around the province. This program is active in BC currently and we are looking at opportunities to expand the program further.

If you’re looking to hire some workers into your shop, be sure to take a look at these 16 graduating students. They’ve already demonstrated commitment to work because they attended this 8 week program.

Plus there’s an excellent wage subsidy program that’s hard to pass up.

Interested? Contact Cormac O’Reilly, Senior Program Manager,

Northwest Skills Institute

604-900-1980 ext 122


CKCA’s First Local MeetUp a Success!


CKCA Local MeetUp a Success! 

CKCA hosted the first local MeetUp for industry this week in Burnaby, BC at Upper Canada Forest Products offices who kindly agreed to be our first host!

With more than 40 in attendance, UCFP provided updates and a tour for manufacturers followed by an open session that invited local suppliers. We also had CKCA Board Members James Dewinetz (Pacific Rim Cabinets) and Gerald Van Woudenberg (Van Arbour Design) speak to the group about the benefits of CKCA membership.

The event is just the beginning of new local events CKCA wants to host across the country. Getting together for a few hours eve

ry few months is doable for many manufacturers. CKCA will continue to host our valuable monthly Manufacturers Roundtable as well as two national events coming up in May and October in 2024. Watch for details on those events coming soon.

Looking to connect locally with other companies? CKCA wants to host more local MeetUps for members an

d non-members. If you’d like to host a MeetUp in your area, get in touch with us. We need local champions to get these off the ground. Face-to-face connections are still #1 for building business relationships and learning from each other.


CKCA Launches “HR Suite of Tools” for members

We’ve been listening to what our members need and HR is often listed at the top priority.

Managing HR is the cornerstone to success of any business. Some businesses have an HR Manager on staff, some outsource and others manage it themselves.  But HR is a risk area for any company and we want to link our members to the best resources to help them. In a market where labour shortages are common, we are working to arm our members with a suite of HR tools. Everything from promotion to recruitment to advice. CKCA is here to help our industry succeed.

We’re pleased to announce our new partnership with HR Covered. The largest Canadian-owned HR company in Canada. Because we know it’s important to get the right advice from the right source.

In addition, a reminder to CKCA members that you may also access the HR tools available through our partnership with CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business).

What does the HR suite of tools include?

  • Unlimited access to the document library – over 700 HR templates and policies designed by HR experts (available in English and French)
  • Free 30 minute HR Health Check
  • Receive HR Covered’s National newsletter covering key trends and policy changes.
  • Access free webinars on various topics including consulting HR lawyers, discussions on hiring foreign workers, recruitment strategies and more (these are excellent webinars!).
  • 50% off recruiting commission
  • Plus, if you’re looking for addition HR support, you can access different programs including Unlimited HR Advice, Unlimited Legislative Training and Unlimited Employment Law and these services come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Access free templates and documents through your membership with CFIB (included with your CKCA membership)
  • Get 40% off Payworks payroll services
  • Access more than 50 free on-line courses on business management and compliance through Vubiz
  • 10% discount on training programs for your staff offered through Centre for Advanced Wood Processing and Wood Manufacturing Council
  • Access to graduates from the entry level training (pilot program) for kitchen cabinet production worker (now only available in BC, but will be expanding)
  • Medical benefits through CKCA’s program with Desjardins Insurance plus free employee discount program of 10%-60% on thousands of brands when you purchase CKCA benefits (more employee perks that cost you nothing!)
  • 25% discount at Goodlife Fitness for all your staff
  • 10% discount cards at Mark’s Work Warehouse for all your staff
  • Access to CKCA recruitment tools, videos plus a 15% discount on recruitment videos through CKCA’s provider
  • Free job listings with
  • CKCA scans for industry data, employment updates and strategic intel to help you manage HR in your business
  • Last, but not least – you are not alone. We’re looking to host regular HR roundtable discussions via Zoom. If you’re interested in participating, get in touch with us below.

And there’s more coming with additional videos that interview different career opportunities in the industry, along with information sheets and wage level information.

CKCA members can access all these tools. We’re here to help.

For more information on how to access all these services and discounts please contact or call us at 613-493-5858

It’s all about data – An interview with Luke Elias of Muskoka Cabinet Company

CKCA Board Member Profile: Luke Elias is passionate about technology in manufacturing and in 1989 started implementing computer hardware and software to improve office to shop communications in his Alfred, Ontario company Muskoka Cabinet Company. Early on he invested in cutting and optimization software and invested in a Nested Based Manufacturing in 2000.  Today Luke is co-founder of SMARTMRP Inc. an ERP/MES automation software specifically designed for the woodworking industry. With SMART at its core, Muskoka boasts one of the most advanced panel processing cells in the world, utilizing Robotics, RFID, ERP and an AGV, for machining, sorting, labeling, transporting and tracking parts. These innovations have resulted in Muskoka Cabinet having output that is three times the industry average.

 CKCA Board member Luke Elias, president of Muskoka Cabinet Company, joins us to discuss technology and automation in the kitchen cabinet industry.


CKCA: Luke, can you share the most significant thing you have done in the last 5 years to advance your business interests?

Data collection. We started seriously collecting data about 2016 when we put in the first robotic cell. This gave us an opportunity to apply our RFID (radio frequency identification) labels to parts in an automatic fashion. Prior to that, we had been using RFID but only at the product level. So, every kitchen cabinet would have one RFID label on the back of it. The reason why we didn’t RFID and track every single part is because it is too labour intensive, but when we brought in the robotics cell we saw multiple ways to use it. We decided to put RFID labels on every part and, using the cell, we automated the application of this.

So, since 2016 we have really turned up our data collection process. It has allowed us to not only collect the data, but manipulate and analyze it, and look at ways on how we can increase efficiency and productivity. There are automation projects that we have bought because the data showed us the projects will pay for themselves in less than a year.

I also want to credit my phenomenal team. Everyone is enthusiastic about what we are doing here.

CKCA: The automation and robotics on the floor at Muskoka Cabinet is a giant leap when compared to the floors of some of your peers. How does a business owner take the first steps and begin to approach automation of their shop?

When we were designing this factory back in 2003 we used value stream mapping (VSM). That is one of the most valuable tools that anyone can get. It is not easy, but it is laborious. It is not expensive, but it requires a lot of hard disciplined work. You are actually mapping out the process, from when the board arrives at the shop, and the whole process it goes through until it is an assembled kitchen cabinet and is packaged and shipped out the door. We used white boards and had meetings with the employees. You have to prompt the employees because they miss steps when it is an action that is second nature to them.

When we first used VSM, we counted 400 steps in the old factory. When we were designing for this new factory we wanted to reduce the number of steps. So, how did we do that? We rearranged and mapped out the movement of the parts. We asked a lot of questions about the positions of the machines and work stations on the shop floor. In thinking through the movement of parts and placement of machinery, we eventually cut the number of steps down to 200. And when we opened the new factory in 2004 we had a really big eye opener. With the same amount of people and the same amount of equipment, our production doubled in the first month. We just couldn’t believe it. Our sales doubled in the first month. With the money we made, we reinvested in further automation. We have been reinvesting and reinvesting ever since.

CKCA: Are there places business owners and managers can look to learn and understand how to introduce and establish automation in their shop? Where can someone turn to get ideas and examples for introducing automation?

One place is to take part in CKCA’s conferences, tours and meetings. Through the CKCA we can visit other shops. This is a great opportunity. I always come away from the events and tours with something I’ve learned.

You also have to attend trade shows. You may not see amazing things in every booth but you are going to find golden nuggets at a trade show — maybe in some little 10 x 10 booth in the back where this small company is offering some technology that you wouldn’t have read about because they don’t have the money to promote themselves. It’s a little nugget that will pay off.

People also need to look outside of the wood industry. They need to attend the big automation shows in Canada and the United States. We took our robotics committee to the automation show in Detroit, North America’s largest automation show. At these shows you are going to see a lot of automobile technology. However, technology and automation is transferable. In Detroit, we saw vision systems.  A big problem we have in our industry is quality issues – detecting flaws in the product. So, vison technology helps to address our quality issues. We saw a demonstration with a Tesla that had a camera going around the car to detect any faults. It covered every square inch of the car to detect deficiencies of paint, a scratch, or an imperfection, perhaps a weakness in its steel. Now, imagine having this vision system operating on your finishing line! This is a technology that our industry could use now. It would mean big savings. So, we need to go to these shows and learn what is out there that can be used in our facilities today.

CKCA: Is there something that you specifically wish to convey about automation with CKCA’s membership?

One has to wonder what is stopping people from diving in? Money? It shouldn’t be money. The money is really secondary. We need to study the processes and the data and not be so focused on the money. The first question I always get asked when someone is touring my business is, “How much is a FRID tag?” Well, it’s 8 to 13 cents. Then you see them calculating the number of parts in a cabinet and they think “OMG, what is that going to cost?!” People are focused on the cents and not thinking how much this would save them with the process… When you see your business bottom line, everything becomes apparent. Seriously, it’s all about the data.

In this photo Luke holds a small RFID tag containing code that allows him to track every single component in his plant. While many will ask how much it costs to produce the tags and attach to everything, Luke will tell you that the more important question the business owner should be asking is how much time and money will this save not trying to track down where components are in the plant. Point well taken Luke!


Women Installers Training Program gets started

October 2023

Back in 2018 CKCA conducted an industry study based on input from members that there was a growing shortage of kitchen cabinet installers. While this career path can be quite lucrative, manufacturers are increasingly challenged to find installers. As this part of the kitchen cabinet manufacturing process is absolutely stage of deliver, the role of the installer is higher valued and sought after.

CKCA member, Möbel Cabinetry based in Hamilton, Ontario  decided it was time to do something about it. They approached the Wood Manufacturing Council to help fund a new training program. They wanted to create and encourage women to consider a career as a kitchen cabinet installer. And so began a great partnership that is currently underway.

If you speak with P. Chacko John at Möbel, he’ll tell you this isn’t just a training program, it’s a “woman empowerment project”. With Möbel’s 30 years in business they recognized that the number of woman in the industry was negligible with marginal growth. They wanted to create opportunities for women to become independent cabinet installation professionals.

With a whopping 80,000 construction workers set to retire in the next decade in Ontario, this being widely published,  there needs to be some serious steps to fill those gaps. Because at the same time this shortage is growing, the need for more housing grows too. Ontario alone is looking to build some 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. With over 500,000 currently in the construction industry in Ontario, just crunch these numbers and the massive bottleneck gets bigger. Companies are already feeling the pinch significantly with more than half (55%) of Canadian entrepreneurs are struggling to hire workers (according the the Business Development Bank of Canada, Fall 2021 study).

The labour shortage is a massive issue and it is a systemic issue. There is no cookie-cutter solution. However, programs such as the WIIT (Women in Installation Trade) program as well as CKCA’s Kitchen Cabinet Production Worker Training Program are programs that are working to address the problem. While they may be small compared to the problem, we all know that solutions have to start somewhere. “The more people we can get interested in our industry, the better and the more people who understand the opportunities that reside in our industry is even better still” says Sandra Wood, CKCA Executive Director.

Recently Möbel’ Cabinetry was featured on the local news. Be sure to check out the news video clip here »

On behalf of the CKCA we’d like to commend Möbel’ Cabinetry and the Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC) for supporting this program. We wish them continued success and we encourage women to take a second look at career paths that they might not typically consider was suitable. You could be pleasantly surprised!

CKCA celebrates Canadian-built at the Kitchen and Bath Expo Oct 25-27 2023

CKCA will be participating in the Kitchen & Bath Canada Expo and Conference. We want to celebrate “Canadian Built” kitchen cabinets by creating a “Canadian Pavillion” where we will showcase CKCA as well as some of our members and their products to really let the Canadian brand shine.


This B2B show will attract designers, dealers, builders and suppliers. This is a great opportunity to showcase what “buy Canadian built kitchen cabinets” is all about!

If your a manufacturer, consider buying a booth at the show and proudly showcase your product to potential customers.

To book your space, click here»

Press Release here»

CKCA Elects 2 members to the 2023 Board of Directors

ANNOUNCEMENT (Click here for PDF version)

June 15, 2023

CKCA members elect 2023/2024 Board of Directors

The Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association held their 2023 Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 15 at 2pm (ET) via Zoom.

Members voted to elect two Directors from a list of five candidates for positions on the CKCA Board of Directors for 2023/2024. We are pleased to advise that:

  • Luke Elias, Muskoka Cabinet Company
  • Chris Havey, CNC Automation

were elected by the CKCA membership. Luke Elias has already served on the CKCA Board for one term (2020-2023) and Chris Havey is joining the Board this year. Both will serve on the Board for a three year term 2023 – 2026.

Immediately following the AGM, the newly elected Board then re-appointed the Executive Officers.

  • Pete Fournier, Triangle Kitchen (President)
  • Amrita Bhogal, Sunrise Kitchens (Vice-President)
  • James Dewinetz, Pacific Rim Cabinets (Treasurer)
  • Heidi Boudreault, Denca Cabinets (Past-President)
  • Sandra Wood, CKCA Staff (Secretary)


  • Trevor Chaulk, Chaulk Woodworking  (continuing their term)
  • Craig Atkinson, Marathon Hardware   (continuing their term)
  • Joerg Brauns, Cyncly (continuing their term)
  • Giuseppe Castrucci, Laurysen Kitchens (continuing their term)
  • Earl Ducharme, Hafele Canada (continuing their term)
  • Luke Elias, Muskoka Cabinet Company (elected for a second term 2023)
  • Varun Gajendran, Lucvaa Kitchens (continuing their term)
  • Chris Havey, CNC Automation (elected for a first term 2023)
  • Gerald Van Woudenberg, Van Arbour Design (continuing their term)

CKCA would also like to acknowledge and sincerely thank departing Board member Wes Love of Taurus Craco who served on the Board from 2010-2017 and then returned to the Board in 2020.  Wes has been a steadfast contributor to CKCA and we are extremely grateful for his contributions to moving CKCA forward.

Link to Board members photos and bios can be found here.

CKCA President, Pete Fournier says:

“CKCA is pleased to have received so many excellent candidates for the two positions that became open on the Board this year. We heard repeatedly from members that the choice was difficult to make. We congratulate the two elected Board members, Luke Elias and Chris Havey and we would also like to sincerely thank Wes Love for his tremendous contributions to the Board. The interest we received from members through the election process tells us that the work we are doing is valued. The industry is evolving, and it is important we have strong leadership to help guide the organization and ensure it remains relevant and nimble to the changes we face.  CKCA is an industry tool and a national voice that strives to create opportunities for the Canadian kitchen cabinet industry. The CKCA Board of Directors are volunteers representing a wide range of companies across Canada who manufacture or supply to the kitchen cabinet industry. We look forward to another productive year.”

The CKCA National Forum will be held September 28 – September 30 in Moncton, NB. Registration opens end June.

CKCA established in 1968, is a national trade association representing the kitchen cabinet industry in Canada. CKCA works to inspire progress and innovation in the industry, by promoting excellence, facilitating continuous improvement and working to ensure high standards for design and manufacturing are upheld

If you have any questions please contact Sandra Wood, CKCA Executive Director at 613-493-5858 or for more details.




CKCA, Laurysen Kitchens and others collaborate!

May 1, 2023

Giuseppe Castrucci former VP, Sales and Marketing may have retired from Laurysen Kitchens but he’s not sitting still. Instead Castrucci has initiated a collaboration between CKCA, Wood Manufacturing Council (WMC), National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA Ottawa Chapter), Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association ) GOHBA and Algonquin College to spearhead a one day conference in November in Ottawa to shine a light on the many career opportunities available in the residential building sector in Ottawa.

With the City of Ottawa committed to building 151,000 new homes in the next 10 years (that’s about 15,00 a year) the demand for skilled workers is only going to increase and we are all seeing the exodus of workers from the building industry as they head into retirement.

In a recent article in the Ottawa Citizen (Housing Renos – March 25 P2)  it was mentioned that 400,000 skilled labourers will be retiring over the next ten years.  But it’s important to note these retirees have plans to live in their homes, a trend that the kitchen cabinet industry has been hearing more about for some time called “aging in place.”  CKCA ran a webinar on this trend 2 years ago, you can find the link to the recorded session here.

Add this to the newcomers to Canada and demand to build more housing for them and you have the highest demand for housing and renovation the industry has ever seen at a time where we have a diminishing workforce.

Jason Burggraaf, Executive Director of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association says “GOHBA is actively promoting skilled trades as a first-choice career while leveraging strategic partnerships like these to attract young people, immigrants, and those looking for a new career to consider a skilled trade in residential construction and professional renovation. Building approximately 10,000 new homes a year and renovating our 400,000 existing homes means that in Ottawa we need an average of 800 new workers every year for the next 10 years to keep up with labour demand.”

The residential and home renovation industry across Canada has found itself in a chicken or egg situation.

“Collaboration amongst stakeholders isn’t just a nice to do any more, its a must do as we all face the same issues” says Sandra Wood, Executive Director, CKCA. With CKCA participating in the collaboration the hopes is to create a one day event that profiles the building industry in Ottawa and the career paths available. We need to expose youth, parents, newcomers and those looking to change careers to the residential building sector and dispel the myths and celebrate the many positives this industry has to offer” says Wood.

The collaboration is a work in progress. CKCA has reached out to it’s local members inviting them to participate in the one day event. Castrucci is pleased with the progress made so far  “As industry it’s important we do what we can to bring new talent into our industry. We can no longer assume we will have workers. The business potential for the kitchen cabinet industry in Canada is enormous. We need to get stakeholder organizations working together if we’re going to move the dial on the skilled labour shortage.”

As Chair of the collaboration, Castrucci is encouraging the group to leverage their individual expertise because each organization has been doing work on this issue for some time. The hopes is that this initiative will serve to become a template used in other parts of Canada. If you are interested in getting an initiative like this started in your local area, reach out to Sandra Wood at CKCA