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     Volume 11, Issue 22, June 16, 2011

                                     Association News

CHHMA Welcomes New Member Company
The CHHMA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the following new CHHMA member company:

Blanco Canada Inc. - Manufacturer of Blanco kitchen sinks, accessories and faucets. A division of a German parent company. They are located in Mississauga, Ontario and have a manufacturing facility in Etobicoke, Ontario.

CHHMA Scholarship Program Deadline July 15th 
The CHHMA is once again pleased to be able to offer the opportunity for children of employees of our member companies to apply for a scholarship to help offset the cost of post-secondary education. The Association recognizes the importance of education and therefore encourages children of our member companies to attend University or College.

Five to seven scholarships are awarded each year. Successful candidates receive $1,000 CDN per year for the first two years of study leading to a diploma or degree from an accredited community college or university.

The scholarship program is available to the dependents of any current full-time employees of the CHHMA or member companies. The program is only offered to Canadian companies or divisions of companies based in Canada which are members of the CHHMA. The member company must remain a member in good standing in order for the student to qualify for the second year of the scholarship. The student's parent or guardian must be an active full-time employee with at least one year seniority with the CHHMA or member company as of July 15th in the year of application. Applicants must be high school seniors preparing to enter an accredited community college or university in the fall term, and attain a minimum average of 75% in the last year of high school. The decision of the Selection Committee and the CHHMA is final and not open to appeals. The CHHMA reserves the right to withdraw a scholarship should the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) voluntarily leave the employment of the CHHMA or member company, or if employment is terminated for just cause prior to the start of the school year, or if the company terminates its membership in the Association.

Complete details and application forms can be found at or click here for a PDF information sheet:

The CHHMA must receive applications from potential candidates no later than July 15th.

Since 2001, the CHHMA has awarded $108,000 towards scholarships and some 54 young people have benefited from the scholarship program. 

CHHMA GO KART Night Set for September 1st in Mirabel, Quebec 
The Canadian Grand Prix took place last weekend in Montreal but we know the real top race drivers will be at the CHHMA Soirée Karting/Go Kart Night in Mirabel, Quebec on Thursday, September 1st.

The event will be held at the Circuit ICAR motorsports complex ( located 20 minutes north of Montreal.

The Go Kart racing will take place on an outside 1 km long track designed by 1997 F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, where karts can reach speeds of up to 65 km/h. The cost to attend is $100 for CHHMA members, $120 for non-members plus taxes and will include a cold buffet served in the clubhouse (5:00 p.m.) prior to the racing competition which will start at 6:30 p.m. The event will be limited to 40 persons only. The competition will be a team format so start making plans to assemble your winning foursome racing team now. Individuals not registering as a foursome will be assigned to teams.

Further details and registration will be available next week.

                             Member News

New Employment Announcement for Acme United Limited
Acme United would like to announce that Greg Lemire has joined the company as National Business Development Manager and will be responsible for the Canadian Hardware, Big Box and Mass Market Retail business in order to further build and develop the Clauss, Camillus & Westcott brands. Prior to joining Acme United, Greg spent time with Henkel Consumer Adhesives, Shurtech Brands and Cantech as their National Account Manager. The Clauss brand covers products in Lawn & Garden, Hand Tools and Housewares, Camillus knives are high quality sport knives and The Westcott brand offers products in the school, office and hobby channel.

Greg can be reached at or 647-351-1650.

                            Industry News

RioCan to Build “Flagship” Target Canada Store
RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust reported last week that it will be building the first purpose-built Target store in Canada in Toronto’s west-end (Weston Rd & St. Clair). The store will be 130,000 square feet and was described as the “flagship” store for the chain.

“It’s going to be the first store that they have built. It’s not going to be a recycled Zellers store,” said Ed Sonshine, chief executive of RioCan, after making the announcement at the company’s 18th annual general meeting on June 8th. “It will be a Target prototype. It should be open by 2013,” Sonshine further commented.

Target Canada had previously only announced the first 105 locations where it was taking over existing Zeller store leases and planning to convert them into Target stores by 2013. It is expected to announce additional store location conversions in September. The retailer has earmarked $2 billion for the Zellers store renovations.

RioCan is already Target’s biggest landlord in Canada and should grow that relationship in the coming years. At the same time, RioCan hopes to continue to grow its relationship with Wal-Mart Canada for whom it also builds a lot of stores for.

Sonshine said that a number of U.S. retailers are looking for Canadian retail space which could create a development boom. He mentioned that Marshalls wants to open up to 100 locations in Canada in the next two years.
In Memoriam – Jim McComb 
The industry was saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Jim McComb at his home in Winnipeg on June 6th. Jim was the principal in the McComb & Associates Inc. hardware sales agency where he worked along side his wife Doris. Jim also leaves behind daughters Samantha, Stacie and son Michael who all worked at the company at one time or another and where Samantha continues to work. One of Jim and Doris’s passions was their spectacular backyard garden which was shown to many garden people in the Winnipeg area.

Jim will be missed by his many friends in the industry.

A celebration of Jim’s life was held earlier this week on Monday, June 13 in Winnipeg. For further info, see:
                          Stewardship News

ÉEQ Update: Bill 88 Now in Effect After Several Months of Waiting
Over a year after the Commission des transports et de l'environnement began its work to amend the Environment Quality Act and the compensation plan, Bill 88 finally came into effect on June 13, 2011. ÉEQ has said they have reservations regarding the changes brought in by the Bill. “While companies made some gains, ÉEQ expressed its disappointment regarding the accelerated application of 100% compensation and the increase in administrative fees from 6.55% to 8.55%. On the other hand, some points were won or confirmed in the final version of Bill 88, including:

• confirmation that only the costs of collection, transportation, sorting and conditioning will be recognized in the calculation of compensatable net costs;
• efficiency and effectiveness factors will be maintained in the calculation of compensatable net costs;
• RECYC-QUÉBEC fees will be reduced and capped at $3 million;
• access to actual compensatable municipal net costs for 2010 and 2011 Schedules of Contributions rather than estimated net costs, which would have increased the risk of error in compensation paid by companies; and
• spreading out of contribution payments, as negotiated by ÉEQ with the MDDEP for 2010 to 2014 Schedules of Contributions.”

To see further details on the changes brought by Bill 88 go to:

Stewardship Ontario Reminder 
Stewardship Ontario would like to remind stewards the second quarter Blue Box invoices were sent out on June 1, 2011 and payments are due on June 30, 2011.

If you have any questions, please contact Stewardship Ontario at 1-888-288-3360 or

Economic News

 May Home Sales Remain Stable

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)’s latest statistics released yesterday, national resale housing activity remained stable in May compared to April. 

Seasonally adjusted national home sales activity edged down by less than 1% in May compared to April. Sales activity declined in Vancouver and Ottawa, offsetting gains in Edmonton and Toronto, where sales reached the second highest level on record for the month of May.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) sales were 2.7 % higher than a year ago. This was the first year-over-year increase in more than a year, reflecting falling sales activity in May 2010. Sales activity fell sharply last year between April and July, with May marking the mid-point of that slide. Although activity has been more stable this year, last year’s sales volatility is expected to continue to affect year-over-year comparisons in the months ahead.

A total of 196,749 homes have traded hands via MLS in Canada so far this year which is in line with the ten-year average for year-to-date activity in May.

“The Canadian housing market has seen some big ups and downs in recent years, making national sales activity so far this year look like something of a Goldilocks story by comparison - not too hot, not too cold,” said Gary Morse, CREA’s President.

Seasonally adjusted new residential listings were little changed from April to May, edging up one tenth of a percentage point.

With sales and new listings holding steady on a national basis in May, the resale housing market remained firmly planted in balanced territory. The national sales-to-new listings ratio, a measure of market balance, stood at 52.1 per cent in May, little changed from 52.5 per cent in April.

The seasonally adjusted number of months of inventory was little changed from April at 6.1 months at the end of May on a national basis.

The national average price for homes sold in May was up 8.6% from last year to $376,817.

A number of factors skewed the national average price upward in May. These factors include historically high sales activity in selected pricey Vancouver neighbourhoods (Vancouver prices were up 25.7% from a year ago) and broadly based price gains in Toronto (+8.7% year-over-year), where supply remains tight relative to demand. If Vancouver sales are excluded from the calculation, the year-over-year change in the national average price would be 5.6 %; excluding Toronto and Vancouver, it would shrink to 3.7% the report said.

RBC Economics Forecasts 3.2% Growth for Canada in 2011 

According to the latest outlook from RBC Economics, Canada’s economy will grow by 3.2% this year, helped by high commodity prices and improvement in the U.S. economy. RBC expects Canada’s GDP will grow at a 3.1% pace in 2012.

“Strong demand for commodities and a revival in U.S. demand for autos will drive healthy gains in exports - at an average of 9% per annum for the next two years,” RBC chief economist Craig Wright said in the report released last Thursday.

RBC predicts a shift in the makeup of domestic demand. Although, consumers were the driving force of growth coming out of the recession, the key driver will switch from households, as consumer spending slows and household debt rises, to business driven growth as corporate investments pick up. The report also sees negative factors such as European debt, rising oil prices due to tensions in North Africa and the Middle East and disappointing U.S. indicators beginning to fade in the coming months.

RBC projects U.S. economic growth of 2.7% this year and 3.4% in 2012.

“With more than 50 percent of Canadian exports linked to natural resources, higher commodity prices have provided a substantive and positive boost to our economy,” said Mr. Wright. Rising commodity prices also helped boost the Canadian dollar above parity with the U.S. dollar in the first five months of 2011, and the bank expects it to remain elevated for the rest of the year, which will help to spur business investment.

RBC expects headline and core inflation rates to hover close to the Bank of Canada’s 2% target level.

RBC believes the Bank of Canada will likely raise its key interest rate from 1% this fall to 1.75% by the end of 2011 and 3% by the end of 2012. That could place further pressure on Canada’s housing market, which is already slowing due to eroding home affordability and high home prices. “With interest rates heading higher, we anticipate that the volume of home sales will calm and prices will post very modest gains,” Mr. Wright said.

Provincially, Alberta will lead economic growth with Newfoundland and Labrador close behind. Saskatchewan and Manitoba are expected to achieve above average growth this year, while Ontario will post average growth and B.C. and the Atlantic provinces fall to the lower end of the pack. 

  Canada Adds 22,300 Jobs in May  

StatisticsCanada’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than two years as a combination of more jobs and fewer people seeking work pushed the rate down to 7.4% in May from 7.6% in April. A year ago, the rate was 8.1% and had peaked at 8.7% during the recession.

Statistics Canada reported last Friday that 22,300 new jobs were created in May, following April’s strong pick up of 58,000 jobs. However, May’s number stemmed more from fewer Canadians actively looking for work (27,800 fewer) than from any job growth. Some of these people might be taking a break from job searches as the weather warms up, others may have headed back to school. And some may have given up because they simply can’t find work. Also, while all the job gains were full-time, many came in the less desirable self-employment category, which could indicate that many Canadians are creating their own jobs as they are unable to find traditional work. The number of self-employed workers rose by 29,500, while paid employment declined by 7,300.

Full-time employment increased by 32,900 in May while there was a loss of 10,600 part-time jobs. Over the past year, full-time work has grown by 224,000 (+1.6%) while part-time positions have risen by 50,000 (+1.5%). Overall, Canada has created 273,000 new jobs (+1.6%) in the past year.

In May, most of the employment gains came in the retail and wholesale trade industries, and in information, culture and recreation.

The goods-producing sector of the economy saw a pull-back in employment in May, with manufacturing taking the biggest hit with 22,500 fewer jobs, after four months of little change. Despite the monthly decline, this industry has picked up 25,000 jobs (+1.4%) since May of last year. Construction employment was little changed in May, although it has increased by 41,000 positions (+3.3%) over the past 12 months. May also showed that the public sector is starting to cut back as 44,300 jobs were cut as governments begin dealing with large deficits.

Among provinces, Quebec, Alberta and Saskatchewan all saw job growth in May. Employment declined in Newfoundland and Labrador, and was little changed in other provinces.

Hours worked rose modestly by 0.3%, and wages were only 2.2% higher than last year, down from 2.6% in March.

“The details in this month’s job growth were not all rosy, but any gains at all were impressive given that they came on the heels of an outsized 58,000 prior-month tally, and amidst signs that the economy is decelerating sharply in the second quarter,” said CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld. 

U.S. Retail Sales Decline for First Time in 11 Months
The Commerce Department said on Tuesday that U.S. retail sales fell in May for the first time in 11 months, dragged down by a sharp drop in sales from auto dealerships. Total retail sales slipped 0.2% last month, after a revised increase of 0.3% from 0.5% in April. Compared to May of last year, retail sales are up 7.7%.

Sales of motor vehicles were down 2.9% in May, the largest decline since February 2010, due to supply chain disruptions following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Sales at gasoline stations rose 0.3% after increasing 1.4% the prior month. Excluding gasoline, retail sales fell 0.3% after gaining 0.1% in April. Sales at food and beverage stores fell 0.5%, while sales dropped 0.4% at sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores. Sales of electronics and appliances fell 1.3%, the largest decline since March 2010. However, clothing store sales edged up 0.2% last months, while sales at building materials and garden equipment suppliers rose 1.2%.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew at a 2.2% annual pace in the first quarter.

This report was the latest in a series of weak data indicating that the lull in economic activity will extend into the second quarter. The year started off soft due to bad weather and rising oil prices.  

Upcoming CHHMA Events For 2011

Soirée Karting/Go Karting Night
Thursday, September 1
Circuit ICAR, Mirabel, Quebec

Industry Memorial Golf Classic
Tuesday, September 27
Blue Springs Golf Club, Acton, Ontario

Industry Cocktail
Tuesday, November 29
Location TBA, Montreal, Quebec

To register for all events visit our website at or call Pam Winter at (416) 282-0022 Ext. 21

CHHMA Cost Savings Links
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"Eye On Our Industry" is published by the CHHMA as an information resource for our members. Member input regarding content and format is welcomed. Please contact Michael Jorgenson by email: or call (416) 282-0022, ext. 34.



Canadian Hardware & Housewares Manufacturers Association | 1335 Morningside Ave., Suite 101, Scarborough, ON M1B 5M4
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