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National Strategy Summit Takes on Construction Industry’s Biggest Challenges

October 6, 2017

Ottawa – All sectors of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry, including owners, contractors, labour and government, came together today at BuildForce Canada’s second National Industry Strategy Summit to move forward on a national strategy to build a sustainable, competitive workforce by improving safety, productivity and workforce retention.

There was strong agreement that safety, productivity improvements, and workforce recruitment and retention issues are of paramount importance to the competitiveness of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry.

“Keeping our industry strong and competitive requires all elements of the construction industry to collaborate and share best practices,” said Christina Taylor, Chair of BuildForce Canada. “As an organization we’re proud of the leading role we play in bringing industry together in this unique forum to discuss these issues and map out strategies to overcome these challenges.”

Canada’s construction and maintenance industry has a strong safety culture. The goal now is to build on those lessons learned and apply the same level of corporate leadership to the productivity challenges that face the sector. It will require strong senior-level engagement to improve productivity at every stage of construction, from planning to workforce training.

As close to a quarter of a million construction workers plan their retirement this decade, not only attracting, but retaining the next generation of construction workers was again highlighted as an industry key priority.

“There was strong agreement across industry to focus on ensuring all workplaces are respectful, safe and flexible,” said Clyde Scollan, Vice-Chair of BuildForce. “Meeting the needs of a diverse workforce, means ensuring that all workers feel welcome – which, like our focus on safety, is necessary to help drive the needed productivity gains.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.buildforce.ca

For further information, contact:

Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, Ferreira@buildforce.ca or (613) 569-5552, ext. 222

Campaign encourages construction industry to work together to improve productivity

March 9, 2017

From company owners and contractors to workers, all sectors and all members of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry are being urged to join a national effort to change the way they plan, work and build. The industry-led initiative aimed at boosting productivity, was launched today by BuildForce Canada.

“A changing global economy, rapidly aging workforce and slower growth, are forcing our industry to take a hard look at every stage of construction in order to stay competitive and attract new investment,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “We’re engaging industry in a national conversation about tackling many of its biggest challenges and that includes productivity.”

BuildForce is raising industry awareness about best practices and how companies can work smarter. A new portal on www.buildforce.ca will link industry to best practices, research and resources. Productivity is being incorporated into BuildForce’s online training courses and will also be a focus of a national construction industry summit planned for this fall.

Productivity is considered essential to keeping Canada’s economy competitive. Even small practical steps can help improve productivity, from communication between owners and contractors to ensuring equipment arrives on time.

“We’re working with industry to ensure the construction sector stays competitive,” added Sparks. “It’s all about a shift in thinking so that productivity becomes an important part of industry’s culture. How we work, is how we win.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. For more information about new productivity tools for industry visit: www.buildforce.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

B.C.’s Construction Workforce Poised for Growth

January 31, 2017

The ramp-up of major projects in B.C., from proposed transportation, pipeline and LNG projects to highway and bridgework will bolster the province’s construction workforce by 24 percent, or almost 17,000 workers over the next five years, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“It’s potentially the most rapid rise we’ve seen in B.C.’s construction workforce in the past decade,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The pace and magnitude of many of these proposed projects will require the steady recruitment of new workers from the local workforce and from outside construction or outside the province to meet labour demands, especially in remote locations.” 

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows proposed transportation, pipeline, and LNG and mining investments are the primary driver behind B.C.’s construction job growth from now to the peak in 2021. Industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) building also continues on an upward trend, while new housing is expected to cycle down this year, following a period of extended expansion.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Following peak levels of activity, residential employment is expected to decline by about 15 percent workforce over the scenario period;
  • Renovation and maintenance work is expected to exceed new housing by 2022, accounting for almost two-thirds of residential employment;
  • The need to replace as many as 40,000 baby boomers retiring from construction in the next ten years.

“The retirement of 21 percent of B.C.’s construction workforce compounds the challenge for recruiters,” added Sparks. “Attracting more women and indigenous people to construction could be a big part of the solution in filling that skills gap. Right now they make up just four percent of the province’s skilled construction workforce.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

Canada’s Construction Industry in Slow Growth Mode

January 31, 2017

After two years of decline, construction activity in Canada is expected to edge slightly higher this year. Growth overall will be slower and uneven across the provinces, with the anticipated start and finish of major projects and downturn in residential building. One of the biggest challenges across the entire industry this decade is offsetting the rapid retirement of an estimated 21 percent of the country’s construction workforce, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“That impending wave of baby boom retirements we’ve been hearing so much about is here,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “This decade, as many as 248,000 skilled workers are retiring en mass. It’s a tremendous loss of experience that’s even harder to make up in a slow economy.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows construction activity is expected to soften across most provinces as new residential activity declines and major projects reach completion. Labour requirements will vary by province with resource-driven markets such as Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador continuing to weaken as current projects wind down. In other provinces, including British Columbia, New Brunswick and Ontario, ongoing work along with the anticipated start of planned utility, pipeline, transportation and other infrastructure projects will create new job opportunities. The timing of proposed projects vary and labour requirements are unevenly distributed across the provinces. Over the latter half of the forecast period, project completions and declining housing activity return construction employment back to near 2016 levels in most provinces.

Non-Residential: Key regions where new job opportunities are anticipated:

  • NB: Pipeline, marine terminal and hydro dam refurbishment projects increase employment demands;
  • ON: Major transit infrastructure projects and nuclear refurbishment projects add to employment opportunities across the forecast period;
  • MB: Major hydro development and transmission projects sustain employment requirements.
  • BC: Pipeline, LNG, transportation and mining projects drive job growth.

Residential: Housing activity is expected to moderate in the two largest residential markets – British Columbia and Ontario. Over the short term, residential employment requirements strengthen in Alberta and Manitoba and continue to track downward in Quebec as well as Atlantic Canada over the long term. Residential construction employment is expected to decline by 7 percent, only partially offset by steady but moderate increases in renovation activity.

“Not attracting and training enough young workers is a huge risk for the construction industry,” added Sparks. “With thousands of new workers needed to replace retirees, industry can’t afford to take its foot off the gas.”

Highlights of BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast can be found for each province at: www.constructionforecasts.ca

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce.

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

Construction Workforce Contracts in Newfoundland and Labrador as Major Projects Wind Down

January 31, 2017

Falling oil and gas prices and major project completions and delays will significantly reduce the construction workforce over the next five years, creating potential recruitment challenges when a new round of projects start later in the period, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“The current downturn and rising retirements make it all the more difficult to prepare for the next wave of proposed engineering projects,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Over 3,000 workers may be needed when those projects are expected to start in 2022.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows rising unemployment as major projects wind down and mining and offshore development projects are delayed. As the population declines, new housing construction continues to cycle down and home renovation work softens. Ongoing road, highway and non-residential maintenance work result in small job gains in 2017. The anticipated recovery is expected to stabilize new housing investment and increase home renovation and ICI building construction. The start of potential planned new resource projects between 2022 and 2024 will drive job growth, although employment will remain 25 percent below 2016 levels by the end of the forecast period.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Overall residential employment is expected to decline by 20 percent over the next ten years with most job losses between now and 2020;
  • The loss of an additional 6,500 non-residential construction jobs between 2017 and 2021;
  • As many as 3,900 jobs may be added at the height of the proposed second wave of engineering projects between 2022 and 2025.

“A strong focus on recruitment and training is a must, with over 5,000 skilled workers retiring this decade,” added Sparks. “That’s 21 percent of the workforce that isn’t easily replaced, especially during a slower economy.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

Major Projects Keep Manitoba’s Construction Workforce Growing Strong

January 31, 2017

Major hydro, transmission and pipeline projects are expected to drive construction employment to a new high this year, with as many as 9,000 new workers needed this decade to keep pace with construction and baby boom retirements, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“This year marks the height of two years of strong construction growth in the province,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “When the current up cycle in hydro and transmission work winds down, a series of new projects will start. It’s a level of construction activity that requires new workers, especially as industry contends with an aging workforce.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows construction activity reaching its highest point this year with major hydro and transmission projects, industrial and commercial building as well as mining, road, highway and bridgework all underway. As these projects wind down between 2018 and 2022, they’re offset by ongoing hydro work and the anticipated start of planned mining, pipeline and government infrastructure investments that result in a moderate rise in non-residential employment to 2026. New housing construction and home renovation work is on the rise this year, driving residential employment to a new high in 2022 before returning to current levels by the end of the forecast period. Construction employment in the province will remain at record levels for the next decade.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Maintenance requirements rise over the next decade absorbing some of the declines in engineering construction work after 2022;
  • Women make up 3 percent of the province’s skilled construction workforce while 11 percent are Indigenous people;
  • Up to 19 percent of the construction workforce is retiring over the next 10 years.

“Industry needs to stay focused on attracting more women and Indigenous people to construction,” added Sparks. “They could make a big difference in helping to counter the loss of as many as 8,100 workers who are retiring this decade.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour

market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

Major Projects Keep Ontario’s Construction Workforce Going Strong

January 31, 2017

Rising Retirements Create New Opportunities and Challenges

Major infrastructure, transportation and utility projects are creating a decade’s worth of work for Ontario’s construction workforce. These projects will sustain employment over the next ten years, while the impending wave of baby boom retirements becomes the bigger challenge for industry, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Ontario is losing as many as 86,000 workers this decade to retirement,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “It’s a huge loss of skill and experience that requires a concerted effort to attract more youth, women and Indigenous people to construction as well as workers from outside the province.”

Between now and 2020, labour demands in the province will intensify for current and planned infrastructure and major engineering projects.

“Labour mobility across regions will be key in meeting rising demands for specialized trades,” added Sparks.

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows that while the pace of construction is projected to slow in Ontario, major projects will sustain construction employment at near record levels over the next decade. From an international bridge in Windsor to nuclear refurbishment and transit expansion in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa, infrastructure projects will surpass residential building as the primary source of construction job growth in many regions of Ontario. Construction employment is expected to peak in 2020, marking the plateau of a 25-year expansion that has doubled the size Ontario’s construction workforce.

Forecast highlights including the following:

  • Residential building drives employment higher in 2017 before stabilizing, while home renovation work grows steadily;
  • Institutional and commercial building remains steady while modest growth in manufacturing spurs industrial building between 2019 and 2020;
  • Over 20 percent of Ontario’s construction workforce is expected to retire this decade.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast by region:

Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

  • Most of the province’s construction job growth will be in the GTA, where labour demands for major utility, transportation and other infrastructure projects are expected to be highest in 2022.
  • Residential building, driven by condo construction and renovation work is expected to remain at historically high levels over the forecast period.

Southwest Ontario

  • Construction activity is expected to rise this year and next, driven by major projects and gains in commercial and institutional building. As many as 3,500 jobs are added to 2020, a 30 percent rise in engineering employment driven by major projects including the start of a proposed nuclear refurbishment project.  
  • Housing starts rise modestly to 2021, then cycle down.

Central Ontario

  • Construction employment is sustained near current levels by a rise in industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) building and stable engineering investment.
  • Tradespeople involved in new housing construction are in demand as residential building reaches peak activity this year, before softening in 2018 and 2019. 

Eastern Ontario

  • Non-residential job growth increases over the short-term driven by spin-off activity related to Light Rail Transit and other infrastructure projects, adding as many as 2,300 jobs to 2021.
  • After reaching peak activity this year, new housing remains relatively stable until 2021, then declines, while renovation works stays near current levels.

Northern Ontario

  • Following several years of decline, housing starts are projected to rise across the forecast period.
  • There’s a modest recovery in commercial and institutional building, and a slight rise in engineering employment to 2021 before receding, as current and proposed projects wind down.
  • Low commodity prices have delayed new resource development projects.

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

Nova Scotia’s Construction Industry Needs to Prepare for Demographic One-Two Punch

January 31, 2017

Recruitment efforts will focus on countering a huge wave of retirements this decade, with over 8,000 new construction workers needed to replace retirees, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Industry needs to get ready for the impending demographic double-whammy,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The pool of available young workers is shrinking just as 25 percent of the current workforce gets set to retire in rapid succession. It takes careful planning to counter the loss of 8,000 retirees. Industry is losing a lot of skill and experience.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows industrial building, engineering construction and maintenance work is expected to sustain construction employment near current levels even as residential building slows and population growth declines. The completion of current projects reduces labour requirements this year and next, while shipbuilding and manufacturing activity rise in 2019 and 2020.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Residential construction will decline by 18 percent over the next ten years with the loss of 3,000 jobs, while renovation work resumes growth after 2021;
  • Non-residential construction rises including maintenance, adding 1,300 jobs, a 10 percent increase this decade.

“Nova Scotia has one of the oldest populations in Atlantic Canada, making it far more challenging to build a sustainable workforce,” added Sparks. “That puts greater emphasis on attracting workers from outside the province to meet labour requirements.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

PEI’s Construction Industry Challenged by Baby Boomer Exodus – Up to 26 Percent of Workforce Retiring This Decade

January 31, 2017

As many as 1,500 construction workers are needed this decade to keep pace with major projects, an upswing in new home building and the rapid rise in retirements, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Baby boomers are leaving PEI’s construction industry in such rapid succession that it’s getting harder to replace them,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Countering the loss of 26 percent of the workforce over the next ten years is a real challenge when retirees already exceed the number of local youth expected to enter the workforce”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows moderate job growth in residential and non-residential construction over the next decade. The strongest gains in both sectors are anticipated over the next five years, with the addition of 600 new jobs. Institutional and commercial building rises steadily to 2022 while industrial building remains stable. A transmission project, significant road, highway and bridgework sustain engineering employment at high levels before receding after 2020. New housing demands rise over the next five years, driven by steady levels of immigration. As residential activity declines, non-residential construction sustains employment above current levels.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Rising residential construction creates up to 400 jobs between now and 2022 before receding back to 2016 employment levels;
  • Renovation activity declines in the short term before resuming growth over the long term;
  • Non-residential construction employment, including maintenance, is expected to rise 10 percent, adding 250 jobs over the forecast period.

 “Steady recruitment and training is a must to help build PEI’s construction workforce,” added Sparks. “As the pool of local younger workers gets smaller, industry will need to stay focused on recruiting from other industries or outside the province.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

Proposed Major Projects Drive Construction Job Growth in New Brunswick

January 31, 2017

The province’s construction workforce is expected to grow by 12 percent over the coming decade, driven by a recovery in new housing, steady rise in industrial and commercial building and potential planned energy and utility projects, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Most of the job growth could happen over the next five years,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “A lot depends on the timing of key pipeline, marine terminal and energy projects which could create recruitment challenges as thousands of workers retire.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows rising construction demands over the coming decade driven by stable residential building and proposed major projects. The biggest employment gains are anticipated between now and 2020, as an increase in ICI building could coincide with planned pipeline, mining and other infrastructure projects. These investments offset a decline in road, highway and bridge work over the next five years and contribute to a rise in maintenance work over the latter half of the decade. Construction expansion is expected to raise employment in a series of waves, adding 2,600 jobs over the next ten years.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • A modest rise in housing starts to 2020, while home renovation activity strengthens between 2020 and 2026;
  • Engineering related projects could add 1,700 jobs, a 36 percent increase over ten years;
  • The need to replace 28 percent of the workforce, or 7,600 workers who are retiring this decade, well above the national average.

“Shifting demographics make it harder for industry to build the workforce it needs,” added Sparks. “The pool of available young workers is shrinking as retirements rise. Industry will need to step up efforts to recruit more women and Indigenous people who are underrepresented in construction, as well as new immigrants and workers from other industries.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program

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