IDS Show – Perspectives

(April 2022)

The Interior Design Show took place in Toronto in early April. For the most part, the show was significantly smaller than in previous years. No vendor had as big a footprint as would be typical at the WMS show. Other members in attendance included  Blum, Richelieu, and Uniboard.

Blum also provided an update on their experience at the show. You can read their review here»

Varun Gajendran,Marketing Manager at Lucvaa Kitchens attended the show and gave us a run down of what he saw:

  • Richelieu featured several their TFL lines that they carry including Egger, AGT, Cleaf, Premline & Finsa
  • Richelieu had new, trendy handle boards including industrial iron, rope, polished brass, natural wood decorative pulls
  • BLUM showcased all their products with product specialists on-site to answer all my technical questions
  • BLUM’s Tony Henry also invited the Lucvaa team over to their new showroom to see the changes and visit their automation-heavy warehouse
  • Uniboard had their new colours, including their Supermat finish line, on display
  • Caesarstone had a cool booth, but there was unfortunately a 15-minute wait to see it (booth was very unconventional, with a giant mirrored orb hanging from the ceiling)
  • Miele booth featured a lot of built-in coffee machines and smaller appliances

“As a manufacturer, I wouldn’t consider IDS the best tradeshow as it is more catered toward designers. I went to network and catch-up with my vendors like Richelieu and Blum, who’s teams I haven’t seen in person in over 2 years. A few of our designers are heading over this afternoon and tomorrow to see what is there to inspire them on their next projects.”

Other observations:

  • Multi-family seminar was interesting
    • Presenters were Michael Leckie, Principal Architect, Leckie Studio Architecture & Gaile Guevara, Interior Designer, Gaile Guevara Studio
    • What I caught was talking about changing designing to accommodate not only multiple family, but also disability/accommodations
  • Other than the more relevant home renovation brands and industries, there were at least 3 acoustic paneling companies as well
    • One was using natural moss as a sound proofing
    • Another had 4cm thick decorative panels in a variety of colours
    • Maybe this is a growing industry for limiting noise pollution

 

Making a difference in the community

(April 2022)

We know that many kitchen cabinet manufacturers across Canada are not just business people, they are community people. They are the fabric of our communities and part of the economic engine of Canada.

This story is not about economics. This is about supporting community and making a difference.

When an opportunity comes along to help, many companies will enthusiastically step up to help. And they will do it humbly, without seeking the fanfare. Because doing something good, is what it’s all about.

One such member is CKCA Certified Member, Pacific Rim Cabinets who participated in the upgrade of a Ronald McDonald House.  They built the 3 play houses and the peg wall while another cabinet company did the easy cabinets. It was designer Jane Banfield Design who got Pacific Rim Cabinets involved and, according to James Dewinetz, President of Pacific Rim Cabinets “they did a great job in bringing in some light and open designs and colours.”

More than 30 companies were involved in the project. Check out the story here»

 

Labour shortage is a very serious issue for kitchen cabinet industry (Part 2)

The Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association is active in pursuing solutions to the shortage of skilled labour in the kitchen cabinet industry. It is working with its partnering associations, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and Canadian Federation of Independent Business, to track the complex issues surrounding labour shortages. CKCA is engaged on a number of fronts: attracting and retaining skilled labour, increasing awareness of attractive career opportunities within the industry, and advocating for better immigration and foreign workers programs. There are interesting developments in each of these areas.

In a recent report, the Conference Board of Canada and the Future Skills Centre assessed that the unrealized value of Canada’s skills shortage is equivalent to 1.3 percent of the country’s GDP. This unrealized value has  topped $25 billion in 2020, up from $15 billion in 2015. All levels of government recognize this is a critical problem and are finding ways to encourage greater numbers of skilled tradespeople. For example, in Ontario, the provincial government launched Skilled Trades Ontario, a new Crown agency, to improve trades training and simplify services. The new agency will promote and market the trades, develop the latest training and curriculum standards, and provide a streamlined user-friendly experience for tradespeople. It is hoped that the agency can deliver more skilled workers for in-demand jobs.

Specific to the kitchen cabinet industry, CKCA is supportive of the training program at the Centre for Advanced Wood Processing. The new program’s objective is to attract professionals and entrepreneurs to the wood products industry. Kudos to CAWP for opening the program to people without a background in wood products, who are preparing to take on supervisory or management roles in the industry.

CKCA is also working with four leading industry groups to offer an online jobs portal that will make it easier to promote job opportunities and attract new skilled workers to woodworking. Companies can post “help wanted” ads free-of-charge on WoodworkingJobs.ca in order to connect with potential candidates.

Effective immigration policies and foreign workers programs are necessary for Canada to increase the size of the country’s workforce. Canada needs one million workers over the next five years according to the latest federal analysis. This has prompted Ottawa, in early April, to give several provinces the ability to hire significantly more temporary foreign workers as part of changes to its immigration rules. The changes are meant to streamline the application process for employers.

In conjunction with this, the federal government is accepting 1.3 million new immigrants over the next three years, in part, to help fill critical labour shortages. On the surface this needs to be applauded. However, it is disturbing to learn that the government has actually cut its target for skilled workers because of the existing backlog of 1.8 million immigrants in the queue to be processed. In fact, some reports indicate Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has paused new invitations altogether because the department cannot process them.

There is no silver bullet to solving Canada’s labour shortage. It is the reason why CKCA is approaching the issues in a multifaceted manner. It is essential the Association continues to foster and support educational and awareness initiatives, attract new talent from available pools of executive and skilled workers, and work with government to improve immigration and foreign worker programs.

If you are interested in knowing more details about what CKCA is doing regarding the shortage of skilled tradespeople, or wish to join our efforts in advancing industry solutions, connect with the CKCA executive director Sandra Wood – sandra@ckca.ca

What did we say in Part 1?  Read here

What does the 2022 budget do for kitchen cabinet manufacturing in Canada?

Sandra Wood headshotApril 19, 2022

Sandra Wood, Executive Director, CKCA

The Federal Government’s budget announced in early April, 2022 has left business community wondering if current Government spending will move the dial on issues impacting industry in this country. Both the CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Business) and the CME (Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters) had something to say about it. CFIB’s President, Dan Kelly,  stated that overall the budget was a missed opportunity to help independent business, but CFIB continues to ask Government for more help because business is still  reeling from the pains of Covid. See their full response here.

More recently, CFIB is also asking Government to reconsider the forgivable portion of the CEBA loan, decisions of which have yet to be made although government admitted to continuing the conversation. CFIB, like many other organizations including CKCA,  know that “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” and sometimes those asks have to be made for years before we see any tangible results. CFIB has done an amazing job these past 2 plus years in particular,  lobbying for the interests of business in Canada and Government has listened and acted. Many of us know that CFIB was on the front lines when Covid first hit, telling Government to increase financial aid to business – and they did. In CFIB’s recent business survey it was revealed from those who responded to the survey that only 2 in 5 companies are making normal sales (42%), just over a third reported no pandemic related debt (35%) and less than 1 in 5 indicated they are not holding any pandemic-related stress (18%). Businesses are still challenged with tremendous difficulty keeping up with general costs, such as gas and inputs (90%), and with government costs, such as taxes and fees (82%). A majority are also struggling to find employees, get the products they need, and ultimately make a profit. While the kitchen cabinet industry has been operating throughout the pandemic with work surging, our industry is by no means immune to the impacts and increased costs of doing business.

The CME also responded to the budget and  saw the positives and negatives to the budget. Dennis Darby, CME President said “The budget offers important and helpful measures to stimulate innovation and implement and promote long term economic growth and ease supply chain issues, but it fails to address labour shortages. This is a miss.”

While pleased to see several measures designed to improve Canada’s innovation and investment performance, CME points out that the creation of a Canadian Innovation and Investment Agency which is designed to help businesses make the investments needed to innovate and grow, must have a clear mandate that is agile and aligns with industry needs if the agency is going to deliver on its mandate. Full comments from CME can be found here.

But like so many announcements in the budget, one can’t help but wonder how change will materialize from these initiatives.

Both CFIB and CME acknowledged the tax measures that are good, including the increase of taxable capital limits on the small business tax rate from $15 million to $50 million plus a strategy to establish Employee Ownership Trusts to support employee ownership (could be an important succession option for those looking to exit their business).  There are other initiatives such as the  introduction of  a Labour Mobility Deduction, could also be helpful because it  will allow a tradespersons to deduct up to $4,000/year in eligible travel and temporary relocation expenses starting in 2022 (to encourage the  movement of tradespeople across the country). The Government will examine the rollover provisions for small business investments which allows investors to defer tax on capital gains to ensure the tax system is providing adequate support to growing business.

But as CME noted, the disruptions in supply chain (which is causing losses in the $billions to industry) combined with the many other pressing issues begs the question, will these new budget measures be deployed quickly?

CKCA was talking to a member very recently who has gone through a frustrating Government grant process. The first two times they completed the process, they had success. On a third application following the same processes for the same funds again, the company was forced to spend many valuable hours going through the application process which even included a requirement of getting every employee in their shop to confirm that the employer did not “in any way” help them with completing the employee section of the application. All that time wasted because they were declined funding. It begs the question “Why?”, when on the previous two occasions it worked.

It’s this kind of red tape that creates so much frustration. While Government budget announcements sound good, how much of that money actually makes it to where it’s supposed to go? Another program designed to assist business is the Digital Adoption Program. In speaking with another CKCA member, they have applied for this but are now “stuck in the verification process.” These programs are still worth trying, but as CFIB has pointed out, there is a lot of red tape, so much so that you may want to check out their  “Red Tape Awareness Week“.

The good news is that CFIB was successful in getting  the Federal Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland on to a Zoom call on Thursday, April 14 at 3pm. It was good of the Minister to make the time and shows the level of respect that CFIB has carved out with Government.

Minister Freeland openly admitted that she could not “please everyone” and made decisions that in her view were “to pursue a fiscally responsible set of policies.” She added that “I have a lot of confidence in the bank of Canada. It will do its job to get inflation back to target.”  The Minister did point out that “The inflationary pressures we are feeling today are principally global”, citing actions of Putin, Covid readjustments, high prices for agricultural product and supply chain on a global scale.

The Minister further stated that “It’s important to diagnose the problem accurately before discussing solutions.  The Federal Government can and should help with the labour shortage.”  It was good to hear the Minister acknowledge the labour shortage issue, but she went on to remind us that other countries are in worse shape than we are on the labour front. In some ways it felt like we were being told to be thankful for what we have and stop complaining. At CKCA we hear about the impact of the labour shortage almost daily from industry. Regardless of how we fare compared to other nations,  the situation is not getting better, and Government needs to create initiatives that are nimble enough to act quickly and effectively. Because let’s be honest, this isn’t news. The labour shortage trend has been coming a long time. Even the Wood Manufacturing Council noted it in their 2016 report that was done in conjunction with the Conference Board of Canada. Report here. Surely with all the Government funded studies out there, Government has known about this trend for some time?

And therein lies the elephant in the room again. Because now we see the Government allocating $4 billion to an “housing accelerator fund” which goes to municipalities to cut the red tape at the municipal level to speed up housing developments across Canada. It also appears Government is taking measures to remove barriers for temporary foreign workers and immigrants to Canada (although having spoken to other industry organizations, the barriers to entry into Canada are still governed by very dated policies). According to Minister Freeland, Canada has the fastest growing population in the G7. To accommodate the increase in immigration, we need housing. To increase housing, we need more immigration as our workforce. Therein lies the chicken or egg problem.

So more good news is that for the kitchen cabinet industry, there’s no shortage of work anytime soon. In this new normal, it’s not about work shortages, its about labour shortages and supply shortages and increasing costs. The Government is a proponent of competitiveness and funding is available for automation, provided you meet the criteria and have the bandwidth to go through the various applications required. But in the end, it boils down to Government programs that can be navigated more easily, that are cohesive and nimble and that address the pressing issues voiced by organizations such as CFIB, CME and many others. For those of us in manufacturing, we know we are the economic engine of the Canadian economy. Budget 2022 takes some small steps that skim the surface of the complex issues that lie beneath, but it definitely leaves business and especially those in the home building sector, in a pressurized state for the foreseeable future.

Read CBC article here»

Glenwood Kitchen Ltd acquires Atcan Industries

Glenwood Kitchen Ltd acquires Atcan Industries

Shediac, New Brunswick, April 1 2022 – Glenwood today acquired Atcan Industries., a Dieppe based kitchen cabinet manufacturer. Atcan has been a trusted name in the cabinet industry, stated James McKenna President of Glenwood Kitchen LTd. The synergies of product and staff will significantly enhance our opportunites to serve our customers. The two companies have shared a close relationship and will combine their product lines to bring the best of each to the industry. Glenwood will maintain its head office in Shediac and operate manufacturing in both Shediac and Dieppe.

About Glenwood – Glenwood is wholesale manufacturer of mid-high end custom kitchens, baths and closets. They have been in business for close to 50 years with markets in Eastern Canada, Eastern US and Bermuda. We have over 50 retailers selling our line of cabinets in their design stores. Glenwood currently employs 105 people at a 80,000 sqft modern factory in Shediac.

Contact: James McKenna, President, Glenwood Kitchen Ltd.

Call for Nominations to CKCA Board of Directors 2022

Are you passionate about the kitchen cabinet industry?

Do you want to bring your knowledge and expertise to help steer a national dialogue in our industry?

Want to expand your network and gain a greater understanding of what is happening in the kitchen cabinet industry across Canada?

Then please consider putting your name forward for election to the board of directors of the CKCA.

If we receive multiple nominations, there will be an election.

The mission and vision of the Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association (CKCA) is to inspire progress and innovation in the Canadian kitchen manufacturing industry, by promoting excellence, facilitating continuous improvement and working to ensure high standards for design and manufacturing are upheld by members, as well as to build strong relationships and enduring trust between CKCA members and the consumers, builders and industry partners whose support ensures the success of our members.

If you are interested in standing for election to the board of directors of the CKCA, please review the criteria below, and download the fillable form. Complete it and save it before sending back to us by email.

Complete this form»

Send application form back to the CKCA (by e-mail, for convenience) no later than
April 28, 2022

Please address your application to:

  • Mike Slobodian
  • CKCA Past President and Chair, CKCA Nominations Committee
  • Email: sandra@ckca.ca

Duties / Responsibilities of each Director of the CKCA:

  • You have the time to commit at least 3 years to the board of directors
  • Once elected, should you wish to move on to an Officer position in the future (President, VP, Treasurer), both Manufacturing or Supplier members are eligible [Section 8.2(a)] to hold these offices. It is recommended that during the first 3-year term, you express interest in an officer position.
  • You will prepare for and attend several meetings of the board of directors per year
  • You are willing to sit on one or more committees of the CKCA (such as the communications committee, program committee, membership committee, advocacy committee etc.).For more information on the roles and responsibilities of the Directors, please contact Sandra Wood, Executive Director, CKCA at sandra@ckca.ca or 613-493-5858

Number of Directors: The board of directors of the CKCA consists of 13 individuals from among the manufacturing members and the supplier members.

Number of Open Seats on the Board of Directors: At the May 2022 annual meeting, the voting members of the CKCA will be asked to elect one new director representing either the manufacturing or supplier membership category.

Qualifications and Eligibility: In accordance with the CKCA by-laws:

  • You are a member or are employed by a member of CKCA from either the manufacturer[1] or supplier[2] categories [section 5.1]
  • You are at least 18 years of age, have not been declared incapable by a court in Canada or in another country, and you do not currently have the status of a bankrupt
  • You have the support of at least 2 members or current directors of the CKCA

Composition of the Board of Directors: At least 50% of the Board shall be composed of Directors representing Manufacturer Members, with the remainder of the Board composed of Directors representing Supplier Members. [section 5.1]

Term: The term of each director is 3 years. Directors may serve 3 consecutive terms before having to take a break from the board of directors (for a total of 9 years) [section 5.3].

[1] Manufacturer member is defined in CKCA’s by-laws as follows: Any person, firm or corporation engaged in the kitchen cabinet and bathroom vanity industry that manufactures factory finished cabinets in Canada, or other country, approved by the Board of Directors. [section 1.1(l)]

[2] Supplier member is defined in CKCA’s by-laws as follows: Any person, firm or corporation who provides goods or services used by kitchen cabinet and bathroom vanity manufacturers to produce the cabinets. These include, but are not limited to, manufacturers and suppliers of: countertops, hardware, laminates, cabinet doors, coatings and finishing products, edgebanding, lumber and panel products, equipment, and computer software companies. A supplier member is not eligible for membership in any other category. [section 1.1(y)]

Labour shortage is a very serious issue for kitchen cabinet industry (Part 1)

It cannot be overstated: the Canadian kitchen cabinet industry is facing a serious labour shortage issue – and there are signs that it will get worse if the industry and government does not immediately take action. The Canadian Kitchen Cabinet Association is sounding the alarm bell to heighten awareness and accelerate strategies to attract and retain workers in the industry.

In its Fall 2021 study on labour shortages in our country, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) reported:Labour shortage is not a new phenomenon in Canada, yet the pressure has intensified in recent years. More than half (55%) of Canadian entrepreneurs are struggling to hire the workers they need, leaving them with no choice but to work more hours, as well as delay or refuse new orders.”

There are many signs that the situation may have passed the tipping point.

  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce reported a total of 62 percent of Ontario businesses are confronting labour shortages and they expect this to be a long-term problem.
  • Canadian Apprenticeship Forum states skilled trades require an average of 75,000 new apprentices to be hired every year in the next five years in order to meet the demand.
  • Buildforce Canada reports the construction industry requires 309,000 new recruits by 2030.

What kitchen cabinet businesses are experiencing with its labour force is not unique, yet this industry must find solutions to its labour shortage issues or its future prosperity – perhaps survival – is in question. This industry in Canada employs almost 25,000 and Statistics Canada employment figures reveal there is currently a ten percent job vacancy rate. So, there is a significant shortfall of labour today.

Then there is the matter of a greying workforce. The federal government recently launched a campaign to promote skilled trades after its recent projections that estimate 700,000 skilled trades workers are expected to retire between 2019 and 2028. On this point, one CKCA member revealed that his company will have 40 percent of its workforce retiring in the next five years.

Technology also creates a challenge for all skilled labour industries. The World Economic Forum estimates that 44 percent of the skills that employees currently have will need to change by 2025. So, industries today must not only plan to recruit and train thousands, but adopt upskilling and engagement strategies that will retain talent – just in order to keep the doors open.

To address this complex issue, the CKCA advanced a policy statement on the skilled labour shortage in Canada:

The CKCA and the Wood Manufacturing Council calls for support from industry and government in: 1) communicating the benefits of working in the kitchen cabinet industry, while building educational programs that include mentorship and relevant skills training, 2) financial assistance for the retention and re-training of employees for shops investing in automation and continuous improvement, and 3) creating a support network that promotes and makes more accessible existing tools that address shared labour challenges. (CKCA policy statement can be read here.)

Watch for – Part 2: CKCA reviews proposed solutions addressing the labour shortage problem in Canada.

Denca Cabinets goes solar and are sure glad they did!

(March 2022)

Dominic and Heidi Boudreault, Owners of Denca Cabinets decided to invest in Solar panels in 2020.  When they started doing some research they noticed the Alberta grants & solar panel pricing had come down significantly. Heidi says  “We will be able to start seeing returns in 2.5 years!.”

Getting solar panels on the roof of their 45,000 sq ft. building has provided a way for Denca  to decrease their carbon footprint. They installed 466 x 72 cell modules which produces approx. 237,500Kwh of energy. This is equivalent to 70% of Denca’s annual energy requirements.

According to Heidi “The 209.41 kW solar PV system is estimated to produce 6,824,000 kWh over the 30 year life of the system which will provide the following environmental benefits (check out this handy report they receive from their provider):

Equivalent 79840 trees planted

3,899,700 (kg CO2e) C02 Emission Saved

Equivalent to 45,493,640 Kilometers Driven by an Electric Vehicle.”

Well done Dominic and Heidi Boudreault for taking a big step forward in making your business more environmentally sustainable. As well, we are sure given the current prices for energy, the timing could not have been better. We look forward to hearing from you in the future to see how this journey continues and what other innovative solutions you find to turn your business into “a green machine”!!

CKCA and others implore Gov’t to avoid CP Rail strike

With so many modalities in manufacturing already at risk, the last thing we need is a rail strike.

CKCA is a proud member of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, representing over 30 manufacturing industries.

We have collectively agreed to reach out to Government to express our concerns and propose a solution.

We encourage you to reach out to your politicians to do same.

Read more here»