Local MeetUps – Ontario

CKCA Local MeetUps – Ontario

Oakville, ON – June 13, 2024

CKCA is pleased to host a Local MeetUp in Oakville, Ontario. Members and non-members welcomed. Share this flyer to help us promote this event.

Thanks to our MeetUp Sponsor:

Thanks to our CKCA Local MeetUp Champion – Woodoer


Where: Woodoer (2416 Wyecroft Road, Unit 3, Oakville, ON)

When: June 13, 2024 at 4:30 pm

Register here »


  • 4:30 – 4:45 PM – Introductions and Welcome from CKCA, Woodoer and Hafele
  • 4:45 PM – Tour at Woodoer
  • 5:30 – 6:30 PM – Themed discussion (Topic TBC)
  • 6:30 PM – Enjoy some food & refreshments 
  • 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Roundtable discussions and  networking


Local MeetUps – Alberta

CKCA Local MeetUps – Alberta – Calgary – Edmonton

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

If you attended our Local MeetUp in Calgary on May 2, 2024, thank you it was great to see you. Future meetups for Calgary will be announced later this year.

Thanks to our MeetUp Champion Heidi Boudreault from Denca for making this event happen!

Special thanks to our sponsor:

Edmonton – May 9, 2024 at 4:30 pm – It’s not too late to register!!

Richelieu Hardware (15435 131 Ave. NW, Edmonton, AB)

Register here»


  • 4:30 – 4:45 PM – Introductions and Welcome
  • 4:45 PM – Presentation by CKCA and Richelieu (sponsor)
  • 5:00 PM – Eurocucina Update (Trends)
  • 5:30 – 6:00 PM – Themed Discussion (Topic TBC)
  • 6:00 – 8:00 PM – Enjoy some food & beverages and networking

CKCA Call for Urgent Action in Budget 2023

CKCA is part of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition (CMC), a group of Canada’s leading manufacturing sector associations chaired by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporers (CME). We meet quarterly to discuss important issues facing the manufacturing sector and there is never a shortage of issues to discuss!

Our participation in this coalition offers CKCA members a vital channel to reach Government. The issues and potential solutions are discussed as a means to help manufacturing in Canada continue to evolve and to thrive.

Please see CMC Budget 2023 Press Release signed by CKCA and 20 other assocations that was sent to Government March 16, 2023 to address four important issues:

  1. Labour shortage
  2. Investment in and adoption of advance technologies
  3. Increase domestic production and exports
  4. Adapting to Canada’s climate change plan


Growth through Culture – Four Key Ingredients

Article prepared by: Amrita Bhogal, People and Culture Leader, Sunrise Kitchens Ltd

Did you get a chance to make your Masala Chai? On the tour at Sunrise Kitchens, Amrita Bhogal, People and Culture Leader and the VP of CKCA, shared with us a special Masala spice blend.

You may be thinking how does Masala Chai connect to manufacturing cabinets?

The recipe of Masala Chai has been passed down through many generations and today families have their own unique spice blend of brewing masala chai. Culture is like masala chai. There are many variations on how to build your organizational culture and to share our process we have identified our top 4 ingredients for our recipe, Growth through Culture.

  1. Respectful Community

An important attribute to building a strong culture is having respect. Some ways you can build a respectful community within your teams is to practice active listening skills. Being an active listener can help you build trust, mutual understanding and empathy with others.  Active listening can break the barrier of listening to any objectives when teams are faced the resistance to change. In LEAN perspective, “walk the Gemba or where the activity is and listen to the people”.

  Furthermore, approaching conflict as a collaborator will also help mitigate those who are most troubled with the changes. Collaborating and understanding where they are coming from will show your team you are willing to listen and be flexible to come to an agreement both are okay with.

2.Encouraging Environment

In order to have an environment that encourages your team to build their careers with your organization, it is important to provide opportunities of training, courses they can enroll in and participate in organizational workshops. Policies can also help streamline career development such as an employee transfer policy that is initiated by the employee.  An open-door policy also allows employees to come in and share their thoughts furthermore, for Managers, Amrita provides a monthly People and Culture Coversation with her management team. This allows managers to build a personal and professional connection along with providing extra support with their teams. Building a comprehensive onboarding program that includes, new hire presentation, safety training, QA training etc. will help new hires transition into the organization.

3. Inclusion, Equality and Diversity

A unique way to share the diversity of the team is to visually represent where your team is from. There are endless ideas how this can be brought to life, a few examples can be in the format of a map on the wall or a pin able globe.  Achieve team cohesiveness through being transparent in your communications such as creating an internal newsletter or having organizational meetings every quarter. Furthermore, making employee focused decisions will help create equality. Lastly, building a two-way communication in majority of conversations will help create collaboration and ownership. Another way this can be achieved is through creating a marriage between self-evaluations and performance reviews.

4. Organization Empowerment

Empowering the organization can take place through many activities. A good place to get started is by embodying company values by setting examples through actions and communications along with positively reinforcing desired values by providing verbal rewards when the employee demonstrates the values. Another empowering action can be to celebrate failures. This will help break down the fear associated with doing some wrong or the worry of termination. It is important to create a safe environment that allows employees to make mistakes and learn from them.  Empowerment can also show up in the form of system integration. Allowing departments to work together and access information when they need it will allow them to make powerful decisions.


Changing Sales World – Are you Adapting?

Andrew Wall from Sandler Group, world leaders in sales, sales management and leadership,  shared some Sandler Sales concepts with CKCA members on October 1st.  One key message is that sales is about “Plundering Competitors Market Share” and “Protecting Your Market Share”.  Two key concepts to help you Protect your Market Share were called K.A.R.E. and R.E.C.O.N.R.

K.A.R.E. is an account retention and expansion strategy as well as gaining new market share.  Andrew encouraged members to sort their customer list from most money spent with you annually down to the least.  Pareto’s Principle is the idea that 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients.   Your top 20% of revenue clients are your customers you want to Keep.  Companies then need to decide if they want to meet with their ongoing customers annually, bi-annually or quarterly.  Attain is your objective to add new customers that fit your ideal client profile.  Recapture clients that have changed suppliers is your activity of attempting to regain past clients.  Expand is the activity of working with current customers to identify if there are opportunities to provide additional products or services to these clients.

Keep, Attain, Recapture, Expand are client retention, client expansion and new client prospecting activities.

When you are meeting with current clients to see if additional services or products are desired is best managed by using Sandler’s R.E.C.O.N.R. strategy.   When you meet with your client ask them to Remember or Remind themselves of why they started to work with you or why to annually decide to continue working with you.  Next ask your client to Evaluate how you are meeting their needs.  Be proactive if there is an issue you need to address or acknowledge if they are happy customers.  The primary constant in life is Change, ask your customer if their needs have changed and identify what has changed in your business.   The change in your business will be discussing additional services or products you provide that your customer is not currently buying.   As a result of the changes determine if there is an Opportunity for you both to work on.   If there is an opportunity, then determine the Next Steps.  Since this conversation is so positive it is a wonderful time to ask for a Referral.  Remember, Evaluate, Change, Opportunity, Next Steps and Referral ask is a tremendous strategy to retain, expand and prospect for new clients.

Members wishing to learn more are encouraged to contact Andrew Wall at 905-691-4553 or andrewwall@sandler.com.

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»

Marathon Hardware launches Eureka Matte Black

Eureka Matte Black is the New Black Spring Collection launched on April 6, 2022.

Marathon Hardware announces Spring 2022 Collection Featuring two handles, one low profile pull, and the Laguna gola profiles all in matte black, we’ve showcased these gorgeous pieces of decorative hardware in conjunction with the use of matte black accents throughout the home.

Read press release »

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”!!