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April 18, 2019

Competing Banners Come Together To Buy Canadian

Ten competing banners – ACE, BMR, Castle, Home Hardware, Lowe’s, Patrick Morin, Réno-Dépôt, RONA, TIMBER MART, and Unimat – have come together to encourage Canadians to buy hardware and building products that are made in Canada. ‘Well Made Here/Bien fait ici’ is a not-for-profit organization under a federal charter, belonging jointly to the banners and professional associations that created it in October 2018. The objective is to share information to do-it-yourselfers and contractors that make it easy to find out about products’ quality, materials, and where they were manufactured at Canadian plants. On April 17, the organization distributed five million leaflets about the program at 2,404 affiliate and corporate stores at the founding banners. The logo will also now appear on print and web flyers from each participating banner. Competitors have set aside their habitual rivalries to provide reliable information to consumers, says Richard Darveau, chairperson of the new organization and president and CEO of AQMAT. For manufacturers’ products to use the logo, they must first be accredited and demonstrate that 51 per cent or more of their manufacturing costs are incurred in Canada, excluding R&D, design, and freight. They must also meet construction code rules and several other prevalent industry standards. For more information, visit Well Made Here/Bien fait ici


SMBs Might Be Leaving Tax Money On Table

Many Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners don't understand how their business structure can impact the tax-filing process and many are leaving money on the table, says a survey by Ownr, an online tax platform. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of the registered business owners find the process of filing their company taxes to be confusing, but also admit they haven't taken advantage of any applicable tax benefits including the Small Business Tax Deduction, tax deferral, or income splitting. The survey also shows that many Canadians are unsure how the structure of their business affects their taxes, despite the fact that these distinctions can result in highly varied annual tax savings. Approximately one in four business owners confirm they have little to no understanding of how registering or incorporating their business affects their taxes. As well, 71 per cent of non-registered business owners expect the tax filing process to be confusing, half are unfamiliar with any available tax benefits, and two-thirds are unsure if running a registered business will impact their personal finances.


Stanley B&D Opens Centre Of Excellence

Stanley Black & Decker has opened an ‘advanced manufacturing centre of excellence,’ called ‘Manufactory 4.0,’ in Hartford, CT, to serve as the epicentre for the company’s global Industry 4.0 ‘smart factory’ and workforce upskilling initiatives. The 23,000-square-foot facility will also be an innovation hub for the local region and home of the company’s STANLEY+Techstars additive manufacturing accelerator program. The company currently operates more than 100 manufacturing facilities globally. It has three locations designated as ‘Lighthouse Factories’ that have partially implemented Industry 4.0 across their facilities from manufacturing execution systems (MES) to 3-D printing, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. With the support of the Manufactory 4.0 initiatives, the company plans to update an additional 25 facilities to ‘Lighthouse Factories’ by the end of the year.


Home Sales Remain Strong In Montreal

A total of 13,028 residential sales were completed in the Montreal, QC, census metropolitan area (CMA) in the first quarter of 2019, a six per cent increase compared to the first quarter of 2018, says the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). This is the 18th consecutive quarterly increase in sales. This is also the best first quarter sales result in nine years. Among the three property categories, condominiums led the way with a 10 per cent jump in sales, while single-family home sales increased four per cent, and plexes with two to five dwellings fell one per cent. All of the main areas of the Montreal CMA registered an increase except for the Island of Montreal. Active listings fell for a 15th consecutive quarter, with an average of 21,880 properties for sale on the Centris system in the Montreal CMA. This represents a 15 per cent drop compared to the first quarter of last year.


Contactless Takes Top Spot In Card Payments

For the first time, contactless accounted for the majority of card present transactions in Canada, says the ‘MonerisMetrics Quarterly Report’ by Moneris Solutions Corporation. The first quarter of 2019 saw contactless grow nearly 25 per cent year-over-year to account for 51.5 per cent of total transactions. Overall credit and debit card spending saw moderate growth of 2.5 per cent. For the first time since MonerisMetrics began reporting on spending trends in 2012, contactless (tap) accounted for 51.5 per cent of all card present transactions, a 24.7 per cent increase year-over-year. Prince Edward Island leads the charge in this trend with a 59.2 per cent increase. Manitoba (58.2 per cent), Nova Scotia (55.2 per cent), and Ontario (54 per cent) followed closely. Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest growth rate, at -2.9 per cent.


RH Chooses Adyen For Payments

Luxury lifestyle retailer RH has selected global payments platform Adyen as its omnichannel payments partner. Adyen has a global footprint which enables companies to process all major card brands, along with local payment methods from around the world. As well, Ayden says the partnership with RH further bolsters its presence in the U.S. retail market.


April 17, 2019

Manufacturing Sales Edge Down

Manufacturing sales edged down 0.2 per cent in February to $56.6 billion, following a 0.8 per cent increase in January, says Statistics Canada. The largest declines were in the motor vehicle assembly and wood products industries. However, these decreases were largely offset by gains in the petroleum and coal product, paper, and machinery industries. Excluding motor vehicle sales, manufacturing sales were up 0.2 per cent. Sales were down in 15 of 21 industries, representing 65.9 per cent of the Canadian manufacturing sector. In volume terms, manufacturing sales decreased 0.5 per cent in February. Wood product sales declined 5.9 per cent to $2.5 billion as a result of widespread decreases in the industry. Several wood product manufacturers indicated that they received lower orders as demand and housing starts in Canada and the U.S. declined in February. Sales were down in six provinces, led by Ontario and Saskatchewan. This was mostly offset by higher sales in Quebec and New Brunswick. Inventory levels increased for the third consecutive month, rising 0.5 per cent to $85.8 billion for the month.


Strong Residential Sales In Quebec

A total of 23,667 residential sales were concluded in Quebec in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of eight per cent compared to the first quarter of 2018, says the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB). This was the 19th consecutive quarterly increase in sales. Sales of single-family homes rose seven per cent, condominiums rose 12 per cent, and plexes rose one per cent year-over-year. Geographically, the areas of Joliette (51 per cent), Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts (39 per cent), Amos and Drummondville (36 per cent), La Tuque (35 per cent), and Rawdon (33 per cent) stood out with the largest increases in residential sales. As for the province's six census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Trois-Rivières registered the largest increase in sales at 24 per cent, followed by Saguenay at 17 per cent. The Gatineau CMA also performed well, posting a 16 per cent rise in sales. Transactions in the Québec City, Montréal, and Sherbrooke CMAs also held their ground with respective sales increases of eight per cent, six per cent, and five per cent. The number of properties for sale continued its downward trend, as supply fell for a 13th consecutive quarter.


Lambert Peat Moss Gets Government Contribution

The government of Canada’s Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) has awarded $1.9 million in financial assistance to Lambert Peat Moss. The Bas-Saint-Laurent, QC-based company is receiving the repayable contribution to ensure its growth so it will be able to improve its productivity through the adoption of advanced automated technologies and develop new high-value-added horticultural products. Lambert will optimize its facilities in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Côte-Nord, QC, regions and acquire more technological and efficient production equipment. Lambert Peat Moss is a fourth-generation family-owned business developing sphagnum peat moss-based horticultural products that increase the growth of crops (flowers, vegetables, fruits, grasses, trees, and shrubs). The company operates six production plants in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, Côte-Nord, and Saguenay regions. It also has a distribution centre for the U.S. market in Beloeil, near Montreal.


T-Rex Products Available In Canada

A full range of T-Rex tape products are now available in Canada. They include T-Rex Brute Force Tape, designed for projects that require intense strength, durability, and holding power; T-Rex Extreme Tread Tape, an industrial-quality non-slip tape that improves surface traction with a multi-layer grit; T-Rex Waterproof Tape, for adhesion under wet and dry conditions; and T-Rex Clear Repair Tape, ideal for repairs over a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions.


NCI, Ply Gem Form Cornerstone Building Brands

NCI Building Systems, Inc., which recently merged with Ply Gem Building Products, will operate as Cornerstone Building Brands, effective May 24. The name represents the company’s unified commitment to business transformation that will drive future growth and effectively serve customers and communities across North America. The term ‘cornerstone,’ which is the foundation upon which something greater is built, refers to and emphasizes the essential role the company’s products and solutions play in residential and commercial projects. Cornerstone will offer a comprehensive product portfolio of windows, vinyl siding, insulated metal panels, metal roofing and wall systems, and metal accessories.


LaRonde Appointed DC Manager

Mark LaRonde is distribution centre manager for TIMBER MART, responsible for the Mount Forest, ON, facility. He has experience in sales, operations, and business development and has worked at Wellsco International and PrimeSource.


Saniflo Canada To Exhibit At MCEE

Macerating and grinding toilet and drain pump dealer Saniflo Canada will be exhibiting at the MCEE show in Montreal, QC. Team members will be on hand to demonstrate how products offer solutions. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see the inner workings of a Saniflo grinder pump at the company’s functioning display. The Sanibest Pro is an advanced grinder system designed for both home and commercial use. MCEE is a trade show held every two years for those whose work involves building mechanics, electricity, or lighting. It takes place April 24 and 25 at Place Bonaventure in Montreal, QC. For information, visit MCEE


April 16, 2019

Fourth Quarter Retail Sales Flat

Retail sales in Canada increased 0.7 per cent year over year to $157.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018, says Statistics Canada. Sales of hardware, tools, renovation, and lawn and garden products were flat, with a decrease of 0.1 per cent. Total sales for the segment were $10,142 million compared to sales of $10,148 in the year-ago period. Sales of home furniture, furnishings, housewares, appliances, and electronics were down 0.6 per cent to $15,465 million year-over-year, while sales of miscellaneous products were down 0.9 per cent to $5,551 million.


March Home Sales Edge Higher

National home sales edged higher in March after a sharp decline in February, says the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Home sales edged up 0.9 per cent month-over-month in March while actual (not seasonally adjusted) activity was down 4.6 per cent year-over-year, the weakest level for the month since 2013. Among Canada's larger cities, activity improved in Victoria, BC; and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Oakville-Milton, and Ottawa, ON; whereas it declined in Greater Vancouver, BC; Edmonton, AB; Regina and Saskatoon, SK; London, St. Thomas, and Sudbury, ON; and Quebec City, QC. “It will be some time before policy measures announced in the recent federal budget designed to help first-time homebuyers take effect,” says Jason Stephen, president of the CREA. “In the meantime, many prospective homebuyers remain sidelined by the mortgage stress-test to varying degrees depending on where they are looking to buy.”


Business Sentiment Falls

Canadian business sentiment has fallen from elevated levels as companies point to uncertainty around global trade, the housing sector, and the energy industry, says a survey by the Bank of Canada (BoC). The central bank’s measure for business sentiment dropped from its near-record heights last year into negative territory for the first time since the third quarter of 2016. The previous survey of around 100 senior managers delivered a more-upbeat reading based on a November poll taken as oil prices started to decline. The current survey was conducted between late February and early March. The latest report comes after Canada saw an abrupt economic deceleration in the final three months of 2018 as oil prices tumbled. Stephen Poloz, BoC governor, says the economy needs a longer stimulative boost from low interest rates to help it overcome domestic and global challenges. He predicts the country’s recent economic weakness to only be temporary. Companies expect sales to remain positive, however, even though they were softer than a few month earlier due to less optimism about future demand. The survey also suggests previous concerns about labour shortages have eased, although firms still say it is more challenging to find workers than it was 12 months earlier.


Consumers Don’t Know How To Start Outdoor Projects

Nearly one-third of Americans postpone outdoor projects because they don’t know where to start, finds the ‘Spring Yards Survey’ by the Home Depot. Confidence is key in tackling any project, while more DIY knowledge is the next biggest factor in getting outdoor projects done, says the retailer. The survey shows Millennials are the age group most interested in keeping up their yards so their kids have a safe place to play (32 per cent) and pets have a fun place to explore (31 per cent). Of those who maintain their outdoor spaces primarily for entertaining, Millennials top the list at 39 per cent, followed by Gen Z (36 per cent). More than half of consumers (56 per cent) say the biggest reason for maintaining their outdoor space is to enjoy them privately with those closest to them. As well, those with an outdoor deck, on average, spend seven hours a week outside; two more than those who do not.


Federal Brace Launches Accent Lighting System

Federal Brace has launched its Eco-Lucent LED White Light System for hardwire applications. This lighting system is for under-counter, under-cabinet, in-cabinet, and closet applications for accent lighting in the kitchen, bathroom, and office. The system is made up of LED light bars installed in extruded aluminum housings and frosted covers for defused, decorative accent lighting. It also allows for ‘daisy chaining’ of LED light bars on a single transformer. The lighting system is sold separately from the full installation kit.


Hirsch Everhart Named Chief HR Officer

Robin Hirsch Everhart is senior vice-president, chief human resources and transformation officer with Louisiana-Pacific Corporation. She will be responsible for all human resources functions and will play an integral role by ensuring a strong linkage between the company’s transformational goals and its HR programs. She joins LP from Cintas Corporation.


Thousands Of Items On Auction In Edmonton

Ritchie Bros.’ annual spring auction will feature equipment from hundreds of companies across western Canada. The five-day auction will have more than 10,000 equipment items and trucks to sell, including skid steers, dozers, loaders, cranes, flatbed trucks, winch tractors, and boom trucks. Bidders can visit the website to check out the items available and visit the site or bid online. There will be no minimum bids or reserve prices. The event takes place April 30 to May 5 in Edmonton, AB. For more information, visit Richie Bros. Spring Auction


April 15, 2019

RESCON Pleased With Ontario Budget

The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) is pleased with the Ontario provincial government’s focus on removing barriers to housing supply and the prioritization of skills within the education and post-secondary systems. RESCON has advocated for a reduction of development costs and streamlining of the lengthy development approvement process. Further, the budget builds on the government's strong promotion of the skilled trades in Ontario and RESCON shares the values reflected that allow for training and certification between trades through portable skills training. The residential construction industry is a major source of employment in the province and driver of the economy. RESCON appreciates the government's commitment to making it easier for young people, job seekers, and those starting a second career to enter the skilled trades.


Quebeckers Want To Buy Older Homes And Renovate

Despite tighter mortgage rules, rising interest rates, and rising property prices, 23 per cent of Quebec households intend to buy a residential property in the next five years, says a survey by Quebec’s association of professional homebuilders (APCHQ), the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB), and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ. Most plan to buy existing homes as these are perceived as more affordable than buying new construction. Of these, 65 per cent plan to renovate and spend an average of $14,500 on their upgrades. Of new homeowners who recently completed renovations, nearly one-third did so to improve the energy efficiency of the property. Single-family homes are the most popular type of housing with 65 per cent of Quebeckers who plan to buy looking at this type of property. That proportion is 69 per cent for Millennials.


WTO Makes Ruling On Softwood Tariffs Calculations

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has made a ruling that says the U.S. violated international trade rules with the method it used to calculate tariffs on Canadian imports of softwood lumber. However, the WTO also approved an outlawed U.S. trade policy that allows Washington to use ‘zeroing’ to calculate anti-dumping tariffs. In the past, the WTO condemned the process. Canada’s Foreign Minister, Chrysia Freeland, says Canada may appeal the decision. Both countries have 60 days to appeal. The dispute over softwood lumber tariffs has been going on for more than 30 years.


Leviton Expands Control App

Leviton has launched an expanded version of the My Leviton app to consolidate control of the Leviton Load Center and Decora Smart Wi-Fi product lines. The app provides streamlined management of load centre and lighting operation. The interface enables users to schedule, monitor, and receive notifications in real time for residential electrical system management. Users can now also control load centre activities and home lighting from anywhere in the world using their smartphone or tablet. The app can also be linked to voice assistant partners including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Nest to create a smart home eco-system.


Aluminum Window Profile Market Poised For Growth

The global aluminum window profile market was valued at US$698.41 million in 2017 and is forecast to grow to $991.34 million by 2026, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.2 per cent, says Coherent Market Insights. Aluminum windows are preferred in construction sector, owing to various benefits such as reduced heat effect, durability, lightweight nature, and smoother opening and closing of windows. However, use of aluminum windows causes heat loss and interior condensation which is expected to restrain growth of this market. Among window types, the single hung windows segment accounted for the largest market share in 2017. This type of window is used for commercial and residential applications. Key players in the global aluminum window profile market are focusing on product launches pertaining to single-hung windows, which is expected to boost growth of the segment.


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