A Broker’s Guide to Canada’s Wholesalers Industry

Sep 2021

Canadian manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers have experienced recent growth driven by a strong domestic economy. As of June 2021, Canada’s wholesale sales hit $71.5 billion. (1) In spite of a decline in June, wholesale goods sales increased by 2.6% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter, the fourth consecutive quarterly increase. Prices for lumber jumped in early spring 2021, contributing to the gains as building materials sales rose 11.4%. Several subsectors in the food, beverage, and tobacco sector also recorded gains beyond 3%. The second quarter of 2021 marked the highest quarterly sales in all three subsectors. (1)

Retailers, both large and small, increasingly seek out manufacturers and/or distributors who carry their own coverage in order to have their products on store shelves.

What is a Wholesaler?

A wholesaler is an establishment primarily engaged in distributing merchandise as well as providing logistics, marketing, and other support services. Traditionally, wholesalers fill the middle man in the distribution process; they are therefore prepared to sell large quantities of merchandise to both retailers, and to business and institutional clients. There are however some wholesalers who sell goods individually to end-users, in particular those who sell capital goods not aimed at consumers.

Typically, wholesalers buy and sell merchandise on their own account, which means they own the goods they sell. Their offices and warehouses are generally located near the client’s location, and they may ship from their own inventory or arrange for goods to be shipped directly from a supplier. As well as selling goods, they may also provide or arrange for the provision of logistics, marketing, and support services, such as packaging and labelling, inventory management, shipping, handling warranty claims, in-store or cooperative promotions, and product training. A dealer of farm machinery or heavy-duty trucks falls within this category, as do dealers of machinery and equipment.

Quick Facts (2)

  • There are currently 98,358 wholesale establishments in Canada
  • 97.7% of them have fewer than 100 employees
  • The average annual revenue is $825,300 with 73.8% of wholesalers being profitable
  • GDP increased by 1.6% in the last recorded year
  • Net revenue in the wholesale trade industry was $58.1 billion with total expenses reaching $1.1 trillion in the last recorded year

Wholesale Merchants

Among wholesale trade’s first eight segments are wholesale merchants. A wholesale merchant is known by either a trade designation or a marketing designation, depending on their relation to customers or suppliers. Wholesale merchants, wholesale distributors, drop shippers, rack-jobbers, import-export merchants, buying groups, dealer-owned cooperatives, and banner wholesalers are examples.

Coverage Requirements

A key feature of the Canadian manufacturing industry is its relationship with the U.S. as a key trading partner. Consequently, coverage is required for exposures related to U.S. products and for physical locations in the U.S. such as sales and support offices.

SWG CGL – Commercial General Liability Insurance

SWG CGL – Commercial General Liability insurance is designed to protect the products or services of small and large businesses. As careful as you might be, there are unforeseen events that can happen to every business. Protect your hard work with a policy that fits your needs.

Whether you’re a store owner, office professional or wholesaler, commercial general liability insurance coverages can be customized to protect you against the unique risks and exposures you face.

SWG CGL – Commercial General Liability policy protects your business from financial loss should you be liable for property damage or personal and advertising injury caused by your services, business operations or your employees. It covers non-professional negligent acts for which you might become responsible.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Cross liability
  • Contingent employer’s liability
  • Product Completed Operations coverage (Broad Form)
  • Our policies are on occurrence form, we can however also offer claims made option
  • Our policies can offer enhancement coverage to include, Faulty Workmanship, Product Recall coverage, Employee Benefit, Employer’s Comprehensive Bodily Injury Liability, Sub-limits for Errors & Omissions, as well as Manufacturer’s E&O and Employment Practices Liability
  • Limits up to $5,000,000
  • Deductibles start at $1,000 and can be customized to the size of the business or type of operation
  • Coverage can be provided for sales Worldwide including U.S., but turnover limitations for U.S.

Further Coverage Details:

  • Landscapers/Gardening for others, including Fertilizer, Pesticide or Herbicide application. Excluding any snow removal exposure.
  • Pet Care and Product Sales, Wholesale, Manufacturing.
  • Farmers a/o Antique Markets.
  • Mobile Food Vendors and Take-out Restaurants *excluding Liquor*

We Cover:

Includes but is not limited to the list below.

  • Contractors
  • Cosmetics
  • Beauty and Therapies (excluding Tanning Booths)
  • Excess & Umbrella
  • Manufacturers
  • Paintball & Laser Tag
  • Processors
  • Recycling and Sanitation
  • Remediation
  • Retailers
  • Wholesalers
  • Pet Care and Product Sales
  • Farmers a/o Antique Markets
  • Mobile Food Vendors

For more information, visit our product page at https://swgins.com/product/swg-cgl.html

Content is current as of the date of broadcast and is subject to change without notice.


  1. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/subjects/retail_and_wholesale
  2. https://www.ic.gc.ca/app/scr/app/cis/summary-sommaire/41