OTTAWA – New research from the Construction Sector Council (CSC) highlights the need to tap into new sources of labour and to address inconsistent training in the construction industry to deal with a shrinking workforce and skills shortages where they exist.
“With the results of four new studies, we now have a clearer picture of what we are up against and how to overcome what are some serious challenges for the construction industry and for the Canadian economy in general,” says Robert Blakely, CSC labour co-chair and the director of Canadian affairs for the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.
“These reports are a wake-up call to the construction industry,” adds Tim Flood, the CSC business co-chair and the president of John Flood and Sons (1961) Ltd. “We must take steps now to reduce the risk of a chronic shortage of skilled workers, whether that means more targeted recruitment programs or working with educators and governments to standardize training, or some of the other options outlined in the reports.”
The research report entitled Future Labour Supplies in Canada’s Construction Industry, outlines the need for accessing largely untapped sources of labour including women, Aboriginals and immigrants, to address dwindling labour supplies caused by an aging workforce and a weak interest in construction careers among youth. The Aboriginal population, for example, is growing faster than other segments of Canadian society, with more than 50% under the age of 15.
The report on The Impact of Technology on the Construction Labour Market concludes that new technology is altering skill requirements for all construction trades, yet important training programs and skills upgrading are either not available or little-known.
A study on Training Canada’s Construction Workforce says the many different systems and standards that exist across the country inhibit worker mobility and cost effectiveness.
A fourth research paper, Emerging Trends in Management, Supervision and Mentoring, notes that managers and supervisors faced with higher quality-expectations, more safety regulations and the need for more documentation do not consistently get the support and training they need.
Funding for this project was provided by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program.
The CSC is a not–for–profit, independent labour/business partnership organization established in 2001, to address the current and future human resource needs of the construction industry in Canada.
It has several initiatives underway to help the industry deal with the skills and labour shortage including adopting a more systemic, national approach to training, and reaching out to youth through awareness and education about construction trades.
For more information on these and other CSC programs:
Construction Sector Council
Tel: (613) 569-5552, ext. 230
Fax: (613) 569-1220