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Canada Will Still Need Record Number of Skilled Workers

June 17, 2009

Ottawa – The construction industry is poised to play a major role in leading Canada out of the recession, the Construction Sector Council (CSC) announced today.

“We know there are construction projects right across Canada that are ready to go,” said George Gritiziotis, Executive Director of the Construction Sector Council. “The construction industry could play a major role in building a stronger economy, depending on the timing and implementation of government funded projects.”

Federal and provincial government fiscal stimulus investments are expected to boost construction spending and employment over the next three years, offsetting the effects of a decline in housing starts and the temporary delays in major resource and industrial projects.

The information is contained in highlights of the Construction Sector Council’s annual national forecast of labour market trends called “Construction Looking Forward.” It is the most detailed and advanced forecast of labour market conditions available in Canada.

The forecast shows that 317,000 skilled workers will be needed between now and 2017. That’s a record high. To meet the expected rise in construction activity in the longer term, 149,000 workers will be required. Another 168,000 construction workers will be needed to replace retiring baby boomers over the forecast period.

“The demand for skilled labour over the next decade will reach an all time high,” said Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs, Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “Government and industry have to step up their recruiting efforts, career promotion and training to build the skilled workforce Canada will need.”

The pace of construction activity will accelerate between 2013 and 2017. “If there was ever a time to plan and prepare the construction industry for the economic upturn, this is it,” said Tim Flood, Business Co-Chair of the Construction Sector Council.

As a result of government backed institutional, transportation and energy projects, Quebec has sustained employment growth through the recession. Proposed major projects in mining, manufacturing and utility industries coupled with government infrastructure and industrial projects are sustaining employment growth in British Columbia. In Ontario, construction labour markets will experience a soft landing compared to other industries, while in Alberta employment slows after more than a decade of extraordinary growth.

Momentum is also being created by new and ongoing projects in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador. When combined with government stimulus initiatives, these projects which have helped to sustain construction employment.

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. It has become a respected voice for commentary and perspective on labour market trends.

The Construction Sector Council is Canada’s most reliable source for labour market forecasting and commentary. The CSC is a national organization committed to supporting the future needs of Canada’s construction industry through a highly skilled workforce.

The CSC’s “Construction Looking Forward” national and regional forecasts provide governments, colleges, labour and industry with accurate information on labour supply and demand to ensure Canada’s construction industry remains a leading sector in Canada’s economy.

The national “Construction Looking Forward” Scenario 2009-2017 will be available in the coming weeks along with all forecast scenario data at www.constructionforecasts.ca

For Further Information Contact:

Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
(416) 271-2633

Scott Brownrigg
Sussex Strategy Group
(416) 277-8847