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Manitoba Poised for a Record Expansion in Construction Sector

June 21, 2007

WINNIPEG – Manitoba is on the brink of a 10-year increase in construction activity says a new report released today by the Construction Sector Council (CSC).

According to the CSC’s third annual edition of “Construction Looking Forward: Labour Requirements from 2007 to 2015 for Manitoba,’’ construction activity will continue to climb at a steady pace until 2015, enabling the sector to plan effectively for the increased need for labour.

“These forecasts are an important tool for our industry to effectively plan for their workforce requirements for the next several years,” said John Bockstael, Vice-President of Bockstael Construction and President, Winnipeg Construction Association. “With input from stakeholders from across the province, this report has the most up to date, practical information for this sector.”

Manitoba’s steady rise in construction activity is unique to the rest of Canada, says the CSC report. Projections for most provinces show periods of cyclical declines over several years but in Manitoba construction will experience continued moderate growth across the entire forecast period - a unique expansion across Canadian provinces.

The report notes that 18 percent or 4,000 of the province’s construction work force will be needed to replace retirees. Another 4,200 workers will be needed to meet new construction demand over the forecast period.

David Martin, Executive Director, Manitoba Building and Construction Trades Council and a member of CSC’s Board of Directors notes that "we will use all options available to us to meet the expanding workforce needs, including mobility of workers and linking unemployed workers in other provinces to opportunities in Manitoba, to ensure that contractors have the skilled labour they require."’

“This forecast helps industry, especially multi-year projects like the floodway, prepare for future labour challenges within the construction industry,’’ adds Ernie Gilroy, Chief Executive Officer of the Manitoba Floodway Authority. “Data in the report enables industry to plan and identify strategies to attract and retain workers for the benefit of workers, employers and the economy."

The report also states that the next several years will be steady in terms of growth, but activity will shift among the various sectors. From now through to 2009, the engineering sector will be tight, at which point construction activity will spread to the commercial, industrial and residential sectors.

“The increasing need for more construction workers in Manitoba and across Canada compels industry and governments to target their efforts to ensure all potential workers, including Aboriginal peoples, women, youth, unemployed and underemployed workers and immigrant workers are part of a thoughtful and comprehensive solution,’’ says CSC Executive Director George Gritziotis.

A new feature to this year’s report allows stakeholders to perform customized data searches online. This tool will help individuals source the exact data that is relevant to their needs.

Construction Looking Forward forecasts for each province are being released in June. The National Summary will be unveiled at the end of this month.

The Construction Sector Council was established in 2001 as an independent labour/business partnership to address the workforce needs of the construction industry. The CSC is a neutral forum that brings together stakeholders to provide data that industry can use to make critical planning decisions. CSC provides this data to industry who undertake their own analysis. Funding for this project was provided by the Government of Canada's Sector Council Program. The report is available on the CSC website at www.csc-ca.org.

MORE INFORMATION:
Dave Martin, Executive Director
Manitoba Building & Construction Trades Council
(204) 956-7425
david@mbctc.mb.ca

John Bockstael, Vice-President
Bockstael Construction and
President, Winnipeg Construction Association
(204) 233-7135
jbockstael@bockstael.com

Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
(613) 569-5552
sparks@csc-ca.org