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.


AODO Compliance Deadline Dec 31. 2023

In line with CKCA’s recent partnership with HR Covered, we want to bring to your attention an important update to the AODA compliance requirements that some CKCA members may have missed.

You can find the reference to this on the Ontario website here 

AODA Compliance Reporting

Deadline: December 31st
Before the end of 2023, all businesses, nonprofits with 20 or more employees/volunteers and all public sector organizations will need to confirm their ongoing compliance with the AODA and submit a compliance report to the Ontario Government. Penalties for non-compliance

 Employers with less then 20 employees/volunteers must be able to prove they were fully compliant by the deadline but are not required to submit reporting

The AODA gives government authority to set monetary penalties to enforce compliance with accessibility standards. The maximum penalties under the AODA include:

A corporation/organization that is guilty can be fined up to $100,000 per day

Directors and officers of a corporation/organization that is guilty can be fined up to $50,000 per day

We have come to understand that the fines will be applied automatically for missing the deadline.

 Ontario AODA accessibility report:
Completing your accessibility compliance report – The deadline set by the Ontario government to confirm compliance with the AODA, and the penalties for non-compliance, create a sense of urgency.

Completing your accessibility compliance report

Businesses and non-profits with 20 or more employees and public sector organizations must follow these steps to complete an accessibility compliance report. You will need to download the report, complete it and submit it

HR Covered is set up to help members through this cumbersome and time consuming process for a nominal fee.

CKCA’s contact atHR Covered is:

Vera Palmeri, Senior Account Executive, 1-647-277-9725 –

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!


Cabinet Solutions introduces new online cabinet store

Cabinet Solutions is a CKCA member based in Brantford, Ontario. Drew Neven, President was proud of the recent launch of a revamped website that is clean and easy to navigate. It took some work to build a very functional and user-friendly site that was simple, but still holds a large amount of cabinet types and finishes.

Accurate Millwork, Technology Powered Production | Cabinet Solutions (

“We plan to grow the door types and colour selection once things are running smoothly” says Drew. “We’re proud of the website’s ability to change project level options (material, hardware) after the item is in the art.” It can be challenging to have a website with so much information and added functionality, it’s not uncommon to see cluttered websites, but Drew and his team worked hard to get it right.

Here’s summary of their system features:

  • Ability to modify to the millimetre any of the three dimensions on a cabinet. There are no set depths of heights.
  • Precision ordering — all information is digitally transmitted to program Cabinet Solutions’ machines.  Drew will tell you that this is a big deal!
  • Design freedom afforded by an expanded selection of materials in a large variety of interior and exterior finishes.
  • Real-time pricing eliminating waiting for estimates.
  • Rigid glue and dowel construction.
  • All cabinets and faces are ¾” (19mm) thick.
  • Cabinets are fully assembled and ready to install.

Who can use our store?

  • General Contractors – Get instant pricing on quality millwork to meet your deadlines
  • Cabinet Makers – Don’t spend your time behind the table saw.  Be confident in your ability to supply custom casework while you can sell more projects
  • Carpenters – Get precise cases and modern drawer boxes for that custom built-in you’re working on.  Maintain your reputation as the go-to interior finish expert.
  • Designers – Truly unique customization in the online world.  Give your clients what they need not what someone is trying to sell.
  • Homeowners – Tackling a DIY project?  Start with professional casework and the rest is easy.

Cabinet Solutions invites you to contact them for trade/volume discounts and can be reached at 519-770-0555 or

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!

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

October 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.

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 has been 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.

With one successful Kitchen Cabinet Production Worker training program under its belt and second underway, it is a proven model of success in terms of recruitment, skills training and job placements. We are excited then with the potential to roll out similar training in different provinces to help CKCA address labour challenges. As mentioned, you needed people and Northwest Skills answered.  If you need people, please let Northwest Skills know. We are looking for expressed interest from other parts of the country to see where we can set up another program.

Contact:  Cormac O’Reilly, Senior Program Manager, NorthWest Skills Institute

340-1275 Venables St., Vancouver, BC

T: (604) 900-1980 ext 122


Laurysen Kitchens exciting expansion underway

Laurysen Kitchens is adding on to their existing operations located in Carleton Place. Their current plant was 20,000 sq. ft with roughly 3,000 sq. ft of office. Once the build is done, they’ll have a total production area of 70,000 sq. ft with an 8,000 sq. ft shipping bay plus 8,000 sq. ft. of office space and a state of the art factory showroom of 2,500 sq. ft. Altogether, Laurysen Kitchens will be using 110,000 sq. ft. of space. They are adding some new equipment including sheet storage, nesting, panel saw, spray line, dust collectors. Their aim is to be ready by February 2024. Interesting to note that they have purchased a ew property in the city of Ottawa that will also feature a 10,000 sq. ft. showroom.

Check out the drone footage of the expansion underway here»

Congratulations to CKCA Member, Laurysen Kitchens who are receiving $2 million in funding through the Regional Development Program Eastern Ontario Development Fund. MPP Goldie Ghamari visited Laurysen Kitchens June 12 to make the announcement.

See Press Release here»

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.