Replacing thousands of retirees no easy job for Nova Scotia’s construction industry | BuildForce Canada

Replacing thousands of retirees no easy job for Nova Scotia’s construction industry

Ottawa – Attracting, training, and keeping the next generation of skilled workers in Nova Scotia will be an industry necessity to counter the retirement of approximately 8,200 construction workers this decade, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“It will take a concerted effort to replace up to a quarter of the province’s construction workforce that’s planning to retire in the next 10 years,” said Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Compounding the challenge is the reality that Nova Scotia has one of the oldest populations in Atlantic Canada and a shrinking pool of young workers to draw from.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2018–2027 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows that as current major projects end, and new housing is expected to cycle down throughout the decade, employment is sustained by steady levels of industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) building construction along with rising maintenance requirements and modest growth in home renovation work. Completion of the Maritime Link transmission line, the Halifax Convention Centre and the Macdonald Bridge may lead to a modest decline in construction employment this year. A new granite quarry, the twinning of a highway and other infrastructure work, however, should sustain related employment going forward. 

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Modest growth in home renovation work is expected to add up to 800 jobs, absorbing most of the declines in new housing starts, leaving residential construction down approximately 9 percent at the end of the forecast period.
  • Non-residential employment should be mostly unchanged from current levels at the end of the decade.
  • Approximately 25 percent of the province’s construction workforce is expected to retire over the next 10 years.

“Nova Scotia’s non-residential sector should become a stable source of construction employment this decade,” added Ferreira. “In addition to ongoing recruitment, the industry may need to encourage greater mobility of workers between the non-residential and residential sectors to overcome the retirement challenge.”

BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada’s construction industry. Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance workforce. Visit

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at or (613)-569-5552 ext. 222.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program