Meet Master

History

The Master Group is the largest independent HVAC-R distributor in Canada. Our company is a prime example of Quebec's entrepreneurial spirit, with over 1,000 employees and more than 50 branches and four distribution centres spanning from coast to coast.

We took our first steps in the 1950s

The story of The Master Group begins in 1952, with the creation of Master Refrigeration Supplies. Under the leadership of owner Guy Forget, the company quickly became a recognized and respected name in the refrigeration market. After opening branches in Quebec City and Ottawa in the 1960s, our first exclusive agreement with York marked a turning point in our company's history.

We weathered recessions and expanded into new territory

With the 1970s came a surge in concerns about an energy crisis, which caused a considerable demand for energy-efficient products such as York heat pumps and other specialized equipment. Demand was so high that we opened a third branch in Laval.

Fortunately, we weathered the recession of the early 1980s and even opened branches in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Moncton, New-Brunswick, as our reliable reputation followed us into all of Eastern Canada.

To reflect our growing offering, we became The Master Group

In the 1990s, we focused on improving our operating efficiency, and Master Group president Jean-Guy Lahaie and his second-in-command, Louis St-Laurent, brought on Michel Ringuet as a new partner. The three men restructured the company by bringing together its four divisions under one umbrella. While business thrived, the shareholders resolved to maintain leadership by aggressively adapting to change. They brought in new talent, computerized their operations, expanded their product range and opened more branches. Alain Fournier, an influential and long-standing member of the company's sales force, became a partner. At the dawn of the new millennium, Master is the largest independent distributor in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration in Canada.

In the 1990s, we focused on improving our operating efficiency, and Master Group president Jean-Guy Lahaie and his second-in-command, Louis St-Laurent, brought on Michel Ringuet as a new partner. The three men restructured the company by bringing together its four divisions under one umbrella. While business thrived, the shareholders resolved to maintain leadership by aggressively adapting to change. They brought in new talent, computerized their operations, expanded their product range and opened more branches. Alain Fournier, an influential and long-standing member of the company's sales force, became a partner. At the dawn of the new millennium, Master is the largest independent distributor in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration in Canada.

If we moved quickly in the 1990s, in the early 2000s, we were sprinting. We moved our head office to a 100,000 sq. ft. space in Boucherville, where we combined both our office space and warehouse facilities. We expanded our product range so much that we needed to open a second distribution centre. We also opened our first specialized branch in Saint-Laurent.

From an impressive beginning to one of Canada's best companies

In 2011, with our impressive reputation and success in Eastern Canada, we expanded into the Greater Toronto Area with three branches. This breakthrough allowed us to take an essential step into new regional markets and prepared the way for our national platform. That same year we were named one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Companies, a business awards program we have requalified for every year since.

With three branches and a satellite distribution centre, we became a major player in the Greater Toronto Area. We also added a new branch dedicated to ventilation in Laval, Québec and increased the number of our staff to better serve our customers. With the addition of a fourth branch and a distribution center, we established ourselves as a significant player in southwestern Ontario.

Changing the game to change our future

In March 2014, The Master Group sold 65% of the company to Novacap Industries, a Quebec firm leader in private investment in Canada. Led by a new team consisting of Master's management and Novacap managers, we created a plan to reach new heights and strengthen our leadership in North America. An important milestone in this plan was the 2016 acquisition of the Markham and Oakville branches of Johnson Controls' Unitary Products Group (York®) Ontario division. With our 680 employees and 29 branches firmly established, we were positioned to lead the entire HVAC-R market in Canada.

The year 2018 marked another milestone in our history with the acquisition of Saskatchewan distributor Davies Supply Ltd. Our expansion into Western Canada became a reality as we added three new branches in Calgary, Lethbridge, and Saskatoon. In the same month, we also opened a branch in Winnipeg.

Toward the end of 2018 and into early 2019, we continued our move into the West, opening Burnaby and Calgary distribution centres. We also opened new branches in Burnaby and Langley, British Columbia, and Edmonton, Alberta.

In February 2019, JCI (Johnson Controls) awarded us the distribution rights of York, its flagship brand. We officially became the exclusive distributor of York residential ducted systems and commercial rooftop products for all of Canada.

Looking forward to an exciting future

With our significant growth over the last few years and our continued expansion across Canada, we needed an experienced, world-class leader with masterful sales knowledge. With a strong background in the CVCA-R industry, Neil Stuart McDougall took over the helm to lead The Master Group. As President, his mandates are many and include expanding our presence throughout Canada – and beyond.

Over 65 years of expertise
Over 65 years of expertise
Wide selection of products
Wide selection of products
Customer service experts
Customer service experts
A network of more than 50 branches
A network of more than 50 branches