Home » Atlantic Canada Needs 20,000 Skilled Trades’ Workers

Atlantic Canada Needs 20,000 Skilled Trades’ Workers

June 4, 2009

Worker Mobility Key to Sustaining Strength

Saint John – Planned major industrial, resource and government infrastructure projects will help Atlantic Canada’s construction industry gain momentum through the recession, the Construction Sector Council announced today at the Atlantic Construction Labour Market Symposium.

“A regional approach is needed to make sure we meet the skilled labour requirements from province to province,” said George Gritziotis, Executive Director of the Construction Sector Council. “I’m confident today’s symposium will result in a regional solution.”

The focus of today’s symposium that has brought together industry, training, and government representatives from across Atlantic Canada, is to plan now to ensure the region has a strong skilled construction workforce when the economy improves.

“These projects coupled with government stimulus will create both employment opportunities and challenges,” said Hilary Howes, Executive Director of the Construction Association of New Brunswick. “We need to ensure we’ve got the workforce in place to keep pace when new construction begins across the region.”

The symposium will discuss solutions to issues identified in the Construction Sector Council’s annual report “Construction Looking Forward.” The report highlights labour market trends from 2009 to 2017 in Atlantic Canada.

The CSC’s forecast identifies several major projects in New Brunswick that are projected to drive employment up 45% over four years starting in 2012. These projects which are now either underway or in the planning stage, include an oil refinery and a nuclear power plant.

The CSC’s forecast also show major resource development projects will create 3,200 new construction jobs over the next 9 years in Newfoundland and Labrador. These planned projects include a nickel processing facility, oil field expansion, mine development and hydro projects. Construction employment growth in this province outpaces all others.

Planned resource related projects and government infrastructure activity will add 2,400 new jobs this year and next in Nova Scotia, offsetting the loss of 1,000 jobs in residential construction.

“Our challenge is attracting new young recruits, training and retaining skilled workers,” said Derm Cain, CSC Board Director and Canadian Regional Director of the International Union of Operating Engineers. “It’s a must, given that 5,900 skilled workers are needed to replace retiring baby boomers in Nova Scotia alone.”

The report finds that Atlantic Canada will need more than 4,600 new trades’ people to meet demands for new construction. The age of Atlantic Canada’s workforce is above the national average. As a result, an unprecedented 15,000 workers are needed to replace retiring baby boomers between now and 2017.

In Prince Edward Island, the report shows an increase in housing activity and government infrastructure projects will create 320 new construction jobs over the next two years.

Still, both Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island risk losing skilled workers to Newfoundland and Labrador in the short term and New Brunswick in the longer term.

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.

Atlantic Canada’s “Construction Looking Forward” Scenario 2009-2010 will be released in the coming weeks, along with summary from the Atlantic Labour Market Symposium and all forecast scenario data at www.constructionforecasts.ca

For Further Information Contact:

Danna O’Brien
Sussex Strategy Group
(416) 500-0699

Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
(416) 271-2633