Vol. 3 No. 2

December 2007

- EBMag.com’s Latest Updates
- Pushing, Pulling, Lifting and Lowering
- Makita Website Focuses on Youth
- Accubid 2008 User Conference
- Building Permits October 2007 (StatsCan)
- Coming Events


EBMag.com continues to deliver new, unique and timely content not found in Electrical Business. Here are just a few examples:

Did you know that Gerrie Electric has acquired Trade Electric from Sonepar? Or that Greenlee has acquired Paladin Tools? Or that Techspan has acquired Hayward Components? Or that Hammond Power Solutions Inc. has signed a definitive agreement with Delta Group xfo Inc. and Delta Transformer of Canada (1999) Ltd. to acquire all of the Delta Group’s assets used by, and in connection with, the Delta Group’s transformer business? If not, then you haven’t been visiting EBMag.com, because these hot news items are listed right on our home page.

• EB Careers Online continues to post new employment opportunities, some of which are very time-sensitive—such as Material and Inventory Control Person—so be sure to check regularly. CLICK HERE to see all the postings, and remember: EB Careers Online is free, so send us your openings and opportunities today. CLICK HERE to find out how.

• Meantime, the ELECTRICAL HOUSE OF HORRORS continues to expand. We’re very excited with the latest posting, as it’s an actual movie from the case study featured in our October 2007 edition, in which a very frustrated cable TV engineer has a mystery current on his hands.

• We’ve added a new LITERATURE section under ONLINE EXCLUSIVES that includes everything from brochures and product catalogues to CD-ROMs and white papers. This section, like NEW PRODUCTS, will continue to house increasingly more information.

Finally, don’t forget the Electrical Heritage "What Am I" Photo Contest, and be sure to check out GET INVOLVED, as this is where we list the topics we plan on covering throughout 2008, and explain all the various ways in which you can take advantage of FREE PRESS. Check us out online regularly, and if a friend has forwarded you this e-newsletter... don’t be a mooch! CLICK HERE to sign up for your own FREE subscription to E-Line: Your Industry News Broadcast.


Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are a major pain—in the muscles, tendons or nerves in the lower back, shoulders, neck, elbows, wrists or hands. In fact, MSDs are the number one type of work-related, lost-time claim reported to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) in Ontario. MSDs cause suffering for thousands of workers every year, and manual materials handling is a large contributor.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD) have teamed up to co-host “Pushing, Pulling, Lifting, and Lowering: A workshop on manual materials handling in the workplace” to discuss manual materials handling from a variety of perspectives. The one-day conference is taking place March 4 (see Coming Events below).

The workshop features a keynote presentation by Dr. Tom Waters, a certified professional ergonomist and senior safety engineer at NIOSH (U.S.-based National Institute for Occupational Health & Safety). Waters is known for his work on the revised NIOSH lifting equation—the most commonly used tool to measure whether workers are exerting too much effort to lift or lower.

An array of experts in the field will also speak from their perspectives. You’ll hear from a researcher, ergonomic consultant, injured worker, disability management consultant, labour and management representatives, and a policy analyst with respect to what the province of Ontario is doing about preventing MSDs. You’ll also have the opportunity to engage in workshops where you can discuss how manual materials handling issues apply to your own workplace.

The workshop is located in Mississauga, Ont., so if you’re unable to attend, you can still participate by registering for CCOHS’ live webcast. You’ll hear all the presentations—and have the opportunity to ask questions and submit comments directly to the speakers—from the comfort of your computer or meeting room.

Register before February 1 to pay the early bird price of $125 (full price is $150).


Makita has launched a new website featuring a modular design with streaming video, animated product call-outs, up-to-date information on Makita’s sponsorship of Supercross and MLS/Soccer sponsorships, promotions and more. Brent Withey, brand manager, believes the new website—which uses sound and video—presents the dynamic online experience that younger tradespersons want. The site features interactive content highlighting Makita products, like the 18V LXT lithium-ion series of cordless tools. Each product category is supported with streaming video clips featuring end-user testimonials and technical information. CLICK HERE to visit them online. (Keep in mind this site belongs to Makita U.S.A. Inc., so not everything you find is necessarily accurate for the Canadian market. For Makita Canada, CLICK HERE.)


Accubid is preparing its 2008 User Conference, being held in Toronto in April (see Coming Events below), and is happily offering industry partners various SPONSORSHIP PACKAGES (Note: link opens PDF document). Sponsorship is on a First Come, First Served basis.

(Note: The deadline was November 30, but at last check (December 15), there were still several sponsorships available.)


The value of building permits remained above the $6-billion mark for the sixth month in a row in October, thanks to marked gains in commercial and institutional intentions and strong demand for multi-family units.

Municipalities issued building permits worth $6.7 billion, up 6.8% from September. This level was slightly below the peak of $6.9 billion observed in both May and June. In the non-residential sector, intentions rose 19.3% to $2.6 billion. A decline in industrial intentions was insufficient to offset the strong increases in the commercial and institutional components. In contrast, intentions in the residential sector remained stable at $4-billion. Strong growth in multiple housing was offset by the drop in the single-family component.

On a year-to-date basis, municipalities issued $62.1-billion worth of permits from January to October, up 14.2% from the same period in 2006. This was only $4.2-billion short of the record for an entire year, set in 2006.

Housing sector: Strong demand for units in multi-family
The value of permits for multi-family dwellings surged 21.8% in October to $1.6 billion, the second-highest level since December 2005. The number of multiple-family units approved rose 17.7% to 10,850. The value of single-family permits fell 10.6% to $2.4 billion. The number of single-family units authorized declined by 6.6% to 9782.

The gain in the number of approved multi-family units, combined with the decline in single-family units, is consistent with the recently observed shift in demand. Since the beginning of 2007, multi-family units have accounted for 51.1% of the total, compared with 48.9% for all of 2006. Strength in employment, growth in disposable income, tight apartment vacancy rates in certain centres and attractive financing options continued to stimulate the demand for housing.

However, this demand could be eroded by the deterioration of housing affordability due to rapidly growing prices for new housing and recent increases in mortgage rates. Provincially, the largest increase (in dollars) occurred in British Columbia, where the value of housing permits rose 38% to $848 million. This gain originated from a 70% increase in multiple residential units approved. However, it should be noted that totals in previous months were smaller, partly because of a municipal strike in Vancouver.

In Quebec, strength in the multi-family component led to increases in the total value of residential permits (+13.6% to $807 million). The largest decline (in dollars) in residential permits occurred in Ontario (-10.9%), the result of a substantial decline in single-family permits. Residential intentions in Alberta fell 19% to $640 million.

Non-residential sector: Strong demand for commercial space in Calgary
The value of non-residential permits surged in October, thanks to the strong demand for commercial space in the Calgary census metropolitan area. Excluding Calgary, the total value of non-residential permits nationally would have increased by only 3.9% instead of 19.3%.

A large part of the overall gain in the non-residential sector came from commercial construction intentions. The value of commercial permits totalled $1.6 billion, up 23.1% from September. Despite the big gain, October’s level fell short of the record reached in May ($2.1 billion). The value of commercial permits in October was 14% above the average monthly level recorded between January and September 2007.

In addition to various construction projects for hotels and buildings in the retail sector and in the recreation category, large construction projects in Calgary for office buildings and warehouses contributed significantly to the strong showing. In the institutional component, the value of permits increased 29.8% to $672 million in October following a 15.8% decline in September. In 2007, this level has only been surpassed by June’s level ($713 million). The growth in October came mainly from construction projects for hospitals and education buildings.

The value of institutional permits has been on a general upward trend since the end of 2006. In the industrial component, the value of permits issued in October declined 9.7% to $326 million, a third consecutive monthly decline. This was the second-lowest level in the last 18 months; only February 2007 results were lower ($307 million). The decline in industrial permits came from a drop in utility buildings.

Provincially, the largest gain (in dollars) in October occurred in Alberta, where the value of non-residential permits hit its second-highest level on record ($751 million). The gain came solely from the commercial component as declines occurred in both institutional and industrial permits. British Columbia and Quebec also posted sizeable gains, with increases in commercial and institutional permits for both provinces. Among the provinces, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador posted the most important retreats.

The non-residential sector has been very healthy since the beginning of the year. Between January and October, municipalities have issued $24.4-billion worth of non-residential permits, up 19.5% from the same period in 2006. Marked increases occurred in all three components: commercial (+23.6%), industrial (+18.2%) and institutional (+11.2%). Among the factors contributing to this strong growth are vigorous retail and wholesale sectors, low office vacancy rates in several centres, strong corporate profits, and increasing demand for health and nursing facilities.

Toronto and three major western metropolitan areas lead the pack
On a year-to-date basis, 24 out of the 34 census metropolitan areas recorded gains in the total value of building permits between January and October compared with the same period in 2006. The most important gains (in dollars) were recorded in Toronto and Calgary, where construction intentions for non-residential buildings increased drastically. Vancouver and Edmonton were far behind, but showed strong gains in the residential component. In contrast, Windsor and Oshawa showed the largest declines. Except for Sherbrooke and Abbotsford, all metropolitan areas showing losses were in Ontario.


Pushing, Pulling, Lifting, Lowering: Manual Materials Handling in the Workplace
Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) and the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders (CRE-MSD)
March 4
Mississauga, Ont.
CLICK HERE for details

PowerTest 2008
InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA)
March 17-20
New Orleans, La.
CLICK HERE for details

Electrical Learning EXPO
Alberta Electrical League (AEL)
March 26
Lethbridge, Alta.
CLICK HERE for details

Accubid User Conference
April 24-26
Toronto, Ont.
CLICK HERE for details

Electrical Industry Conference
Ontario Electrical League (OEL)
April 30-May 3
Huntsville, Ont.
CLICK HERE for details

BC Industrial Expo
Abbotsford, B.C.
April 30-May 1
CLICK HERE for details

MEET (Mechanical Electrical Electronic Technology)
May 7-8
Moncton, N.B.
CLICK HERE for details

CLICK HERE to check out A TON MORE industry events at EBMag.com.
(Please let us know of any dead/missing links)

Want more information, or have information to share? Contact the Editor at acapkun@clbmedia.ca or call (905) 713-4391.

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