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Sawdac Newsletter: Fall 2022

October 13, 2022  By Jennifer Beingessner

Benoit Joubert of Arkema Canada (left), Jeff Makimoto (centre) joined SAWDAC board member, Allan Lam of Royal Building Supply, for a round at the annual golf tournament. Joubert’s smile says, “I’m going to hit one tight and win a prize!”

Golf brings out some new friends
We hosted our annual golf tournament Sept. 13 at Turtle Creek Golf Club in Guelph, Ont. The day attracted 104 golfers plus 10 guests for dinner. Notable was the large contingent from our friends at Fenestration Canada. We thank our 18 sponsors for making this fun opportunity possible.  The putting contest and 50/50 draw raised $970, which the SAWDAC board matched to create a $1,940 donation to Kids Ability.

Economic outlook
Where will the window and door industry be in six months? Here’s the view from the SAWDAC offices. While we can forecast that the economy has slowed drastically, look at the housing market with everything the Bank of Canada is trying to do to curb inflation while trying to keep the economy out of a recession. We have to wonder what these measures are going to do to our industry. If we look at the global economy, the Canadian economy will continue to shift from COVID-recovery-driven growth to more normal growth in 2022, which we have seen lately.  The road back to normalcy will not be easy and 2022 is the year of transition.

Canadian families remain well positioned to support economic activity, with growth expected to reach 3.5 percent in Canada in 2022. Nevertheless, it will be important for Canadian businesses like yours to keep an eye on their supply chains and rising costs. We seem to have overcome a lot of the supply chain issues and pricing increases will level off, if the BOC measures can take grasp of inflationary triggers.  Now it is time to execute strategies to address the labour shortage, especially since it seems this is going to persist for years to come.

Canadian families have remained the key to economic recovery throughout 2022. The savings they accumulated during the COVID lockdowns have positioned them well to help grow the economy and have provided them an offset to the high inflation that we are experiencing right now. But their spending habits are expected to return to normal as pleasure travel resumes and families feel more comfortable going out to restaurants. This will help grow the economy, but will it be at the cost of the renovation sector? This seems to be the big question.


Renovations will continue to contribute to growth though the end of 2022. With low inventories in the housing resale market, we have seen a dramatic spike in home upgrades. It’s possible we are seeing this wave coming to and end. The housing frenzy has slowed as the BOC rates have jumped. This should be the case for housing starts as well, but it’s yet to be seen. Governments are investing heavily in affordable housing.

Labour headaches
The labour shortage and skills-matching challenges are holding our members back. Labour market challenges facing SAWDAC members have persisted in 2022 and look set to continue for 2023.  Pre-COVID manufacturers were paying $17 to $19 per hour, now its $23 to $26 and they still can’t get the proper level of employees to meet the demand for window and door sales. Here are some strategies that we have seen working in our sector:

Investing in technology and automation is the most effective measure you can take in your business.  Automation is not just about adding robots.  It can be as simple as using software to automate sales processes and customer service, or it can be as involved as using automated machine tools to power the shop floor.

Offer a broad compensation package. Overall compensation is a great retaining tool, but it’s not just salary. A comprehensive compensation plan should include competitive salary, benefits and flexible work schedules. Mentoring, paid leaves and health and wellness support will also help set you apart from other companies competing for your workforce.

Share your thoughts or experiences on any of this. Email Jason Neal at jason@sawdac.com .

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