Home » Help Wanted: 250,000 Skilled Trades Workers Canada’s Construction Sector Pushed to the Limit

Help Wanted: 250,000 Skilled Trades Workers Canada’s Construction Sector Pushed to the Limit

June 2, 2008

Mississauga – Rising commodity prices, and major new infrastructure projects are stretching the Canadian construction industry to the limits of the national workforce, said George Gritziotis, Executive Director of the Construction Sector Council.

“I’d call it a perfect storm,” said Robert Blakely, Labour Co-Chair of the Construction Sector Council. “Major infrastructure projects right across Canada including strong government-led building of hospitals and schools as well as industrial and engineering projects are boosting the economy, but creating a real challenge for our labour force.”

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

The report finds that that an unprecedented 42,000 new workers were hired last year to meet increased construction activity. Another 94,000 will be needed over the next 8 years to keep pace with new projects, and an additional 162,000 workers are required to replace retiring baby boomers.

“There’s an urgent need for new workers at every level, from residential to industrial and engineering,” said Tim Flood, Business Co-Chair of the Construction Sector Council. “We’ve got to step up our campaign to convince young people to sign up for apprenticeship programs and consider a skilled trade as a career.”

Despite economic uncertainty in the U.S, construction has been a leading industry in terms of growth and employment in Canada over the past decade. National employment across the entire construction industry has risen by a record 39% over the past five years.

The national forecast shows British Columbia and Alberta are the pacesetters with new projects increasing employment to record levels. Dramatic increases in employment have yet to come in Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Saskatchewan where a number of big resource-based projects are in the planning stages. New Brunswick also faces one of the most demanding recruiting tasks with big resource projects scheduled in the coming years. Steady annual growth is forecast in the industrial and engineering trades in Ontario and Quebec.

Industry efforts at recruiting, training and retaining trades workers matched strong demands and sustained the expansion until recently. Trades and occupations in demand include industrial and engineering trades, construction managers, contractors and supervisors.

“I’m hoping we can help convince some of those on the verge of retirement to stay on longer to help ease the pressure,” said George Gritziotis. “Increasing the number of temporary foreign workers, recruiting more women and Aboriginals is also a must to keep projects on schedule.”

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, government, 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