Reports Highlight Need for Immediate Training and Retention to Meet Atlantic Canada Future Construction Needs | BuildForce Canada

Reports Highlight Need for Immediate Training and Retention to Meet Atlantic Canada Future Construction Needs

HALIFAX – A new report released today assessing Atlantic Canada’s construction industry reveals the need for immediate attention to recruitment and retention to ensure a skilled workforce for upcoming projects.

The Construction Sector Council’s (CSC) third annual edition of ‘Construction Looking Forward: Labour Requirements from 2007 to 2015 for Atlantic Canada’ states that although the labour pool is currently stable, both employers and government have to adapt training and recruitment efforts to meet future demand.

“Atlantic Canada’s construction sector has enjoyed a relatively stable supply of workers for sometime now,” said Tim Flood, President of John Flood and Sons (1961) Ltd., and the Business Co-Chair of the CSC’s Board of Directors. “But this report raises the concern about the industry’s aging workforce where a lot of workers are expected to retire soon. The new entrants may fall short of the number needed to supply upcoming construction projects and our sector needs to change the way we attract new people to fulfill the coming demand.”

The CSC produced the forecast with input from all sectors of the construction industry and government through the region’s Labour Market Information (LMI) Committee. The forecast suggests that although the industry is plateauing right now, by 2011 there will be an upturn in housing construction in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island that may limit the availability of housing-related trades. Factors such as changing demographics in New Brunswick and a lagging population increase in Newfoundland further impact the size of the available construction workforce.

Steve Graves, President, Mainland Nova Scotia Building and Construction Trades and a CSC Board Director, stresses the significance of the forecast, “We need to put programs in place to meet the increased demand that’s coming for qualified workers who can continue to operate safely on our worksites.”

Construction Looking Forward forecasts will be released for each province over the coming weeks. George Gritziotis, Executive Director of the CSC says, “The tight markets across Canada compel 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 all part of a thoughtful and comprehensive solution.”

The Construction Looking Forward base case report did not include a number of major projects due to their uncertainty. However, their realization could create significant challenges for the construction industry in the absence of strategic planning. In response, the Nova Scotia Department of Education funded the development of the Major Projects Investment Scenario to broaden its understanding of the potential impact these additional projects might have on the requirements for skilled trades workers in the Atlantic region.

The results of this further analysis are published under a separate report, “Atlantic Major Projects Investment Scenario: Labour Requirements from 2007 to 2015.” It reveals that at peak construction in 2010, an additional 10,600 construction workers will be required to meet the needs resulting from increased construction activity.

Over the forecast period, boilermakers, pipefitters, crane operators, construction millwrights, heavy equipment operators and welders show the largest increase in demand.

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

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. The Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program provided funding for this project. The report is available on the CSC website at

Carol McCulloch, President
Construction Association of Nova Scotia
(902) 468-2267

Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
(613) 569-5552