Home » Government stimulus could help Ontario’s construction industry weather the recession

Government stimulus could help Ontario’s construction industry weather the recession

July 8, 2009

135,000 new workers still needed over the next decade

Windsor – Ontario’s construction industry could weather the economic downturn better than many other sectors as proposed government infrastructure spending provides a soft landing according to figures released today in the Construction Sector Council’s (CSC) fifth annual edition of “Construction Looking Forward,” a detailed industry outlook scenario of labour market trends from 2009 to 2017 in Ontario.

While the recession has weakened housing and industrial activity, other construction sectors are expected to see employment gains in 2009 and 2010 associated with increased government infrastructure (highway, bridge and other engineering) spending that potentially offsets employment losses.

Over the remainder of the outlook the overall economy recovers and the expected increase in construction activity and the need to replace retiring baby boomers translates into the demand for 135,000 new jobs over the next decade.

“Due to the size and complexity of the Ontario market, there are varying degrees of positive construction employment across the province, with the GTA expecting to realize important gains in the short term,” said George Gritziotis, Executive Director of the Construction Sector Council. “Despite the downturn, employment numbers should remain steady as several proposed major infrastructure projects across Ontario come on-line.”

The CSC report breaks down employment needs across five Ontario regions: Northern, Eastern, Western, Central, and the Greater Toronto Area and each have specific circumstances. The GTA will lead the province in construction employment over the next few years as growth remains steady. Other regions of the province however will feel the effects of the recession more strongly over the next three years.

“Transportation and other infrastructure related projects will keep our industry moving in the next few years,” said Rob Bradford, Executive Director of the Ontario Road Builders Association. “Meeting industry’s demand will require a workforce that is flexible as opportunities occur across the province and workers will need to move to where the jobs are.”

Overall construction employment in the CSC trades is expected to increase slightly from 2009 – 2011. From 2012 to 2017, growth in construction employment will average 2.7% annually. These additions to the workforce will come as the overall growth in the Ontario labour force slows to 1% or less. Construction employers will be competing for a steadily growing share of the provincial workforce.

“We need to continue to plan for our existing and future workforce needs,” said Pat Dillon, Business Manager of the Ontario Building and Construction Trades Council. “Governments need to step up apprenticeship and recruitment programs, and put in place measures that include tax relief to facilitate the mobility of our current displaced workforce to ensure that we have the skilled labour ready to take on new projects and replace retiring workers.”

“For Ontario’s construction industry, it remains imperative to promote construction careers, attract youth and enhance training programs,” said Mark Arnone, Director, Projects and Modifications, Ontario Power Generation (Nuclear). “Future major industrial and engineering projects will need a skilled work force to sustain growth and build Ontario’s future.”

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, labour and industry with accurate information on labour supply and demand to support the future needs of the construction industry in Canada.

For a copy of the Ontario labour market forecast visit our website: www.csc-ca.org

For Further Information Contact:

Rosemary Sparks
Construction Sector Council
(416) 271-2633