Market growth for the textile service industry in Canada will grow moderately through to 2024 in comparison to 2015-2019 and it will be sustained by demand from healthcare and construction, says The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Textile Services Market Analysis. Hotels and hospitality’s fortunes will return, but that sector’s compound annual growth 2020 to 2024 is looking more like +1.8% compared to +2.8% in 2015-2019. Demand from newer sectors such as aeronautics and cannabis will, says the report, trend downwards.

Provincial governments grappling with the funding of their single biggest cost – healthcare – will turn to the outsourcing of textile services, primarily to operators, the report predicts. No doubt consolidation of companies and concentrated market share will increase because that’s been the trend so far. Witness Aramark which acquired Canadian Linen and is now one of Canada’s biggest flat linen operators. Another trend, just as in its US neighbour, will be increased technology, green practices and keeping up with stringent safety and hygiene practices.

Canada’s real GDP growth in 2019 was 1.7%. Real GDP 2020-2024 will be 2.8%. Employment growth in that period stands at 1.7%, says the EIU. The average hourly rate for a commercial laundry worker is C$20.

The economy grew at an annualized rate of 9.6% over the last three months of 2020, reports Statistics Canada, down from an annualized growth rate of 40.6% in the third quarter. But the result was better than expected following virtual economy shutdowns and lockdowns. However, real GDP is showing the steepest annual decline since comparable data was first recorded in 1961. Savings, however, skyrocketed: households accumulated $212 billion last year, about $184 billion above pre-Covid trends. That could boost the economy in months to come. How much government help will debt-laden businesses get was the question on everyone’s lips at time of writing…

Meanwhile, on the ground, London Hospital Linen Service Inc in Southwestern Ontario a cooperative laundry, was the first in Canada to provide sterile linen packs to its clients in 1995.

Until March 2020, LHLSI processed 20,000 PPE gowns per week. At the outburst of Covid-19, this had skyrocketed to an average 174,000 each week and is still climbing. To manage this enormous volume, the laundry stopped the folding process and delivered the gowns in bulk carts of 500 or in bags of 10 pieces each.

The new set-up was designed in close co-operation with Jensen-Group’s regional office in Panama City, Florida. Two overhead conveyors automatically dispense the linen from the slings into a chute, and from there to the operator. Two operators inspect before the gowns are bagged. No more walking around with carts, no more physically processing the gowns manually, no more folding. “The new set-up increased the laundry’s output by an amazing 600 – 800%,” confirms chief operating officer Brendan O’Neill.