Home » Construction Reaches All Time High in B.C. 47,000 Skilled Trades Workers Needed to Keep Pace

Construction Reaches All Time High in B.C. 47,000 Skilled Trades Workers Needed to Keep Pace

June 9, 2008

Victoria – British Columbia leads the country in construction employment growth as the number of construction projects hits a record high according to this year’s forecast from the Construction Sector Council.

Major projects relating to the Olympics, Asia Pacific Gateway, mining manufacturing and utilities are turning up the pressure on British Columbia’s most precious resource – its skilled labour force, which has grown by 70% to 139,000 workers since 2001.

“While there’s stiff competition for skilled workers right across Canada, this is where we really need them,” said Clyde Scollan, President of the BC Construction Labour Relations Association. “The crunch is on with major new projects across so many sectors in B.C.”

The information is contained in the Construction Sector Council’s (CSC) fourth annual edition of “Construction Looking Forward,” a detailed forecast of labour market trends from 2008 to 2016 for British Columbia.

The report finds that 26,500 new workers will be required from now until 2016 to replace retiring baby boomers. Another 21,000 workers will be needed to keep pace with new projects in B.C.

“Convincing those on the verge of retirement to stay on longer will help,” said Manley McLachlan, President of the BC Construction Association. “We also need to increase the number of immigrants, temporary foreign workers and more aggressively recruit youth, women and Aboriginals to keep projects on schedule.”

Rising commodity prices have increased investment in the mining industry, tourism, transportation, warehousing and the construction of facilities for the 2010 Winter Olympics. New ethanol, pipeline, and hydroelectric projects have also been announced.

The annual forecast shows housing activity will remain strong overall,” said MJ Whitemarsh, CEO of the Canadian Home Builders' Association of BC. “There’s a real need to keep training and upgrading the skills of the current workforce while attracting new people.”

In 2010 non-residential construction labour markets will ease for the first time in 8 years as several major engineering and industrial projects near completion. However, overall construction activity will remain at healthy levels of investment.

“That means continuing job opportunities to keep our skilled trades workers in demand,” said Wayne Peppard, Executive Director of the BC Building Trades.

The Construction Sector Council is a national organization committed to developing a highly skilled workforce – one that will support the future needs of the construction industry in Canada. Created in April of 2001, and financed by both government and industry, the CSC is a partnership between labour and business.

The CSC’s “Construction Looking Forward” national and regional forecasts provide colleges, labour and industry with accurate information on labour supply and demand to support the future needs of the construction industry in Canada.

For Further Information Contact:

Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
(905) 852-9186
(416) 271-2633