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Wolseley Canada Inc. is a market leader in the wholesale distribution of plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, waterworks, fire protection, pipes, valves and fittings and industrial products.

With its head office located in Burlington, ON, Wolseley Canada Inc. operates out of 220 locations and has approximately 2,500 employees, coast-to-coast. Wolseley Canada Inc.’s parent company, Ferguson plc, is the world’s largest trade distributor of plumbing and heating products and a leading supplier of building materials. Ferguson plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FERG), the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:FERG), and on the FTSE 100 index of listed companies. 

Private Motor Carrier had the opportunity to connect with Jon Ratnasamy, Director of Logistics, to discuss Wolseley Canada Inc.’s company values, community outreach and national approach to service.

Wolseley Canada Inc.’s culture is all about customer service. Working under the company motto to be the best local distributor, the Wolseley team works to ensure they are the distributor of choice amongst the trades.

“I know a lot of distributors will talk about this, but we really do live it at Wolseley – we make sure our customers are set up to succeed with the products, services and the professional knowledge and expertise they need for their business,” says Ratnasamy. “This is a critical part of our culture at Wolseley, right from our most junior staff to our President, Sébastien Laforge.”

The other equally critical part of Wolseley Canada Inc. is the company’s associates. Ratnasamy explains that everyone at the company knows that without them, Wolseley Canada would not be the business that it is today, stating, “Our associates really are the fabric that hold everything together.”

With an employee-focused company and culture comes a strong safety culture, too. Wolseley Canada Inc. takes great pride in making safety a part of everything they do, including in meetings where the facilitator will kick things off with a quick safety moment. Whether it’s about the importance of winter tires, the most recent COVID-19 guidelines, or psychological health and safety, Wolseley Canada Inc. ensures that its team’s mental and physical well-being is at the heart of every step and action the company takes.

Ratnasamy explains that Wolseley Canada Inc. recently launched two Business Resource Groups (BRG) – the Women’s BRG and LGTBQ+ BRG – to provide a safe space for individuals to participate in discussions around what they see, challenges they experience and overall, what’s happening in the world today.

“These groups provide a platform for individuals, who come from areas that aren’t well-represented, and provides them with a platform to have a voice and to create the narrative for our broader associate population,” says Ratnasamy. “For 2,500 employees, spread across over 200 locations, it’s important to be able to provide the space for groups to share their input and feedback.”

The team at Wolseley Canada Inc. is also very collaborative with its parent company, Ferguson plc. Ratnasamy says, “with 2,500 associates [in Canada] and 26,000 in the U.S., we operate as one North American company. Our functional leadership in Canada has direct ties into the functional leadership team in the U.S. and both organizations are aligned when it comes to doing what’s best for our associates and customers.”

Externally, Wolseley Canada Inc. has an active presence supporting community-based initiatives and organizations, including the United Way and Special Olympics. Ratnasamy explains that COVID-19 was a big driver for the company to take action and help others, who succumbed to significant challenges due to the pandemic.

“For the United Way campaign in Hamilton and Halton, we raised $30,000 and all of the donations that the associates made were corporately matched as well,” says Ratnasamy.

“It’s important to us because we’re local, we’re in 220 communities across the country and we want to contribute to the betterment of these communities.”

In 2020, Wolseley Canada Inc. became a gold sponsor of Special Olympics. “We’ve been involved with Special Olympics for over 15 years now,” says Ratnasamy. “The stats we have show that we’ve helped support more than 320 athletes and have raised over $3.7 million dollars throughout the years. Again, big part of our focus and commitment to the community.”

The most recent initiative Wolseley Canada Inc. participated in was delivering food to the TNO Food Collaborative – a joint effort with other members of the Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC).

“It’s an extension of our culture – at no point did someone voice hesitation or concern. It was more excitement and happiness that we could contribute in this way and use our resources and expertise to help a food bank at a time when so many people are in need of resources,” says Ratnasamy.

Wolseley Canada Inc.’s involvement with the PMTC reaches the Executive Board and Ratnasamy says that it’s an absolute honour and a privilege to be a part of the organization and have a seat at the Executive table.

“It’s a fantastic organization that allows Wolseley to collaborate with fleets across the country and understand best practices, challenges being faced by fleet operators, and the implications of changes and delays in regulations,” says Ratnasamy.  “To be a part of [the PMTC] is an honour and drives so much value for us as an organization. It has given us the chance to deliver food to a food bank and we get insights to all kinds of other charitable and community-based organizations, new technologies, and new processes. There’s a ton of benefit with being affiliated with the PMTC and it’s not taken lightly that we have a seat with the leadership team.”

Ratnasamy is so proud of Wolseley Canada Inc.’s employee- and customer-driven focus, saying, “Our associates are informed, empowered and enabled to drive business results in service of our customers. If we think of who we sell our products to, it is to people who are trying to run their businesses and feed their families. Our role in that supply chain is to ensure that they can be as successful as possible.”

Looking ahead, Wolseley Canada Inc.’s future is to be the trusted partner that invests in its people and delivers the best in service to its customers in the industry.

To learn more about Wolseley Canada Inc. and its offerings, visit www.wolseleyinc.ca.

Current News

How Ontario’s General Trucking Sector can Address Driver Fatigue Among Professional Drivers

Driver fatigue identified as a top health and safety risk for trucking operations in Ontario

Top 10 root causes of driver fatigue among professional truck drivers in Ontario

In February 2020, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) in partnership with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) organized a group of industry experts that met for two days to determine the root causes of driver fatigue in Ontario’s trucking sector. As part of their work, they also developed critical controls and specific activities that could be put in place to address driver fatigue in Ontario’s general trucking industry.

The list of the top 10 causes of driver fatigue, as identified by workers, supervisors, and employers in Ontario’s trucking sector is displayed in the infographic on pages 34-35 of Private Motor Carrier. More detailed information on the top causes of driver fatigue among professional truck drivers, is discussed in the accompanying technical paper available at www.ihsa.ca/driverfatigue.

Identifying solutions and controls

After identifying the top 10 causal factors of driver fatigue, the group of subject matter experts, led by Dr. Sujoy Dey of the MLTSD, identified possible solutions and controls for the top ranked risks. During the discussions, similar themes and proposed controls kept emerging that informed five key recommendations:

  • classify truck driving as a skilled trade (Red Seal),
  • review and address critical training gaps in mandatory entry-level training (MELT),
  • mandatory graduated licensing for all truck drivers,
  • greater enforcement of carriers who are non-compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Highway Traffic Act, and
  • promote mental health and wellness among professional truck drivers.

These recommendations provide a foundation for the reduction in driver fatigue by focussing on systemic causal factors and not just the symptoms of driver fatigue. The trucking industry should focus immediately on addressing these five key recommendations.

“The group of industry experts shared their experience, made suggestions, and proposed potential controls to address the primary causal factors and identified systemic weaknesses in the industry,” says Michelle Roberts, IHSA Director, Stakeholder & Client Engagement. “IHSA is proud of our work as an advocate for improving professional truck driver training, non-compliant carrier enforcement, and the importance of driver mental health and wellness. This work is a strong first step toward meaningful changes for safer and healthier workplaces for professional truck drivers.”

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