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Alberta: Slower short-term growth in Alberta’s construction and maintenance industry still requires ongoing recruitment efforts to avoid a labour force gap of 21,100 workers by 2028

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – Employment in Alberta’s construction and maintenance industry rose in 2018 for the first time since 2015 heralding a return to modest employment growth that, combined with retirements, may create a labour force gap of approximately 21,100 workers by the end of 2028, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report forecasts employment requirements for both the residential and non-residential sectors to remain mostly unchanged in the short term, but as activity increases after 2021, the industry is projected to grow by 11% by 2028. The commissioning of the Fort Hills oil sands mining and processing operation represented a swing from large-scale oil sands expansion to sustaining capital and maintenance activities. Provincial economic diversification efforts are helping to broaden the construction market with a new emphasis on industrial and institutional building construction and infrastructure modernization and expansion.

“Major investments in public transportation and road and highway infrastructure will increase non-residential employment demand through 2028,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada.

Numerous short-term projects, such as the light rail transit projects in Edmonton and Calgary, the upgrades to the Yellowhead Trail, and the Calgary Ring Road project, should dominate non-residential employment activity for the next several years. Between 2018 and 2028, rising non-residential construction activity will require the industry to increase employment by 12,900 workers. During this period, the residential sector is expected to slow in the short term, but then grow modestly, adding 5,800 workers by 2028. Combined, anticipated increased demand will add just over 18,700 new workers to the Alberta labour force by 2028.

Adding to the province’s labour force challenges is the growing demand for shutdown and turnaround maintenance work in the oil sands sector. These projects draw large numbers of specific trades for very brief periods. Many of the required skilled trades are in short supply, so stacking these projects can create periods of acute labour shortage. The last peak occurred in spring 2018, and early signs point to 2020 or 2021 as the next possible peak demand period for turnaround and maintenance work. Alberta will likely then face recruiting challenges because it will be competing for highly specialized workers with other provinces, particularly Ontario and British Columbia, where major capital projects will demand workers with the same skills.

As elsewhere in Canada, high rates of retirement within the industry will be the biggest story on the labour supply side, with Alberta’s construction and maintenance sector expected to lose an estimated 40,800 workers to retirement over the next 10 years.

“Alberta is expected to lead the country in population growth, in large part due to in-migration during resource-sector expansion, putting it in a better position than others in terms of labour force potential,” says Ferreira.

As such, the industry may be able to draw on more than 38,400 new entrants aged 30 and younger from the province’s population, but combined with the increased demand for just over 18,700 new workers, this still leaves a gap of approximately 21,100 workers the industry will need to recruit, train, and retain.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 77,000 apprentices registered in Alberta’s 15 largest construction programs, with 35,000 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women employed in Alberta represented 46% of the province’s total labour force. In the province’s construction and maintenance industry, however, women represented just 15% of the industry’s labour force and accounted for only 4.6% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. Similarly, Indigenous Canadians also represented a small percentage of the construction labour force, accounting for little more than 6.4% of the total. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Alberta’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 17% new Canadians. Over the coming decade, the province is expected to welcome an average of 33,200 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

  • Ian F. Reid, Chair, Alberta Construction Association, 403-319-0470 ext. 2233, ian.reid@bird.ca

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

BC will need more than 14,600 additional construction and maintenance industry workers to meet peak labour demands by 2021

January 31, 2019

Ottawa — The labour market in British Columbia’s construction and maintenance industry has already experienced shortages and will require at least 14,600 additional workers by peak market activity in 2021, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada. But even as demand cools somewhat through 2028, a predicted healthy construction market paired with high retirement levels indicate the province will need to increase recruitment to keep pace with demands.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial forecast report shows the BC construction and maintenance industry will be driven primarily by non-residential projects, although residential projects will continue to require workers as new construction gives way to strong demand for renovation work.

“The province is already facing challenges in meeting its labour needs,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Managing recruitment, training, and worker mobility will be critical to meeting BC’s anticipated construction needs over the next 10 years.”

The stacking of several major projects, such as the LNG Canada facility, ongoing work at BC Hydro’s Site C project, the TransCanada Coastal GasLink pipeline, Phase 4 of the Highway 1 improvements, and several other major public infrastructure projects will combine to increase employment demand in the non-residential sector by 12,900 workers by 2021. When coupled with an increase in demand for an additional 1,700 residential construction workers, the province will need to recruit a further 14,600 workers during this period.

In the Lower Mainland, a sub-region of the provincial forecast, similar strong demand exists, and will be driven by high levels of both non-residential and residential construction. Several diverse and large non-residential construction projects slated to proceed over the next several years include the Pattullo Bridge replacement, the Vancouver airport expansion, the Millennium Line and Surrey light rail transit systems, St. Paul’s Hospital, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority container expansion, and various pipeline projects.

While continuing demand is driving the labour narrative in the province’s construction and maintenance industry, retirements from the industry are also on the rise. About 44,200 workers are expected to retire from the provincial labour force over the next 10 years, with 24,600 of those from the Lower Mainland. Based on historical trends, the industry can expect to draw an estimated 36,500 first-time new entrants aged 30 and younger into the provincial labour force, including 21,000 from the Lower Mainland.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 52,000 apprentices registered in the province’s 15 largest construction programs, with 22,580 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women employed in British Columbia represented 48% of the province’s total labour force. In the province’s construction and maintenance industry, however, women represented just 12% of the industry’s labour force and accounted for only 3.8% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. Similarly, Indigenous Canadians also represented a small percentage of the construction labour force, accounting for little more than 5.7% of the total. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

British Columbia’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 24% new Canadians. Over the coming decade, the province is expected to welcome an average of 37,000 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Canadian construction labour markets stable over the coming decade, though provinces tell individual stories

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – While employment in the Canadian construction industry will be little changed over the next decade, adding approximately 44,100 workers, or rising a mere 4%, when coupled with the anticipated retirement of more than 261,000 workers, the country’s construction and maintenance industry will need to recruit an additional 300,200 workers by 2028, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward national report forecasts construction employment in Canada will strengthen modestly through 2020, as demands driven by major energy, public transportation, and other infrastructure projects rise to a near-term peak, offsetting a continued softening in housing starts. For the first time since 2009, employment demand is projected to ebb after 2021, once peak project requirements are met. Slower population growth limits construction expansion nationally over the latter half of the 2019–2028 scenario period, although a period of moderate growth is expected to follow in most provinces to 2028.

“British Columbia is projected to lead construction growth in Canada, propelled by the start of a liquefied natural gas terminal, and transportation and infrastructure construction,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Ontario also continues to grapple with record levels of construction project activity and recruiting challenges. However, labour demands are projected to plateau or recede in most other provinces.”

Manitoba and most Atlantic provinces, with the exception of Prince Edward Island, are likely to see demands weaken and remain at lower levels of employment across the decade, most notably in Newfoundland and Labrador as several projects there end. Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to see modest declines, but recover over the longer term due to renewed increasing demand for housing and the proposed starts of new projects. At the same time, demands in Quebec are sustained at recent peak levels by major project requirements.

Labour demands in the non-residential sector are projected to outstrip demands in the residential sector over the next 10 years.

Slower population growth and affordability challenges are expected to lead to lower demand for new housing to 2023, translating into a possible loss of 11,400 workers from the industry. Momentum is regained thereafter, as residential employment then rises from 2024 to 2028. Total residential employment is expected to rise by 8,400 jobs, or a modest 2% increase from 2018 levels over the next decade, as employment related to new housing is absorbed into renovation and maintenance work.

At the end of the decade, non-residential employment is expected to increase by 35,700 jobs – an overall increase of 6%, with gains in maintenance, and industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) building construction offset by modest declines in engineering construction.

Industry retirements will be an important national labour story over the coming decade. Canada’s construction industry must face the challenge of the retirement of more than 261,000 workers – 22% of the current labour force. Based on historical trends, Canada’s construction industry is expected to draw in an estimated 221,300 first-time new entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population. Much of the expected entry of young workers will depend on industry’s ability to keep youth interested in the trades.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled labour force over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women represented just 13% of the construction and maintenance industry labour force and accounted for only 3.8% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. Women employed in Canada, however, represented 48% of the country’s total labour force.

Similarly, Indigenous Canadians also represented a small percentage of the construction labour force, accounting for little more than 4.9% of the total. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Over the coming decade, Canada is seeking to admit an average of 300,000 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers. New Canadians currently make up 18% of Canada’s overall construction labour force.

“Maintaining capacity to meet construction labour force needs will require focused efforts on recruiting, training, and retaining young workers, even under a slower-growth scenario,” says Ferreira. “Even if the full potential of interprovincial mobility is realized, industry will likely still need to expand recruiting efforts for new workers from local sources of labour, from other industries, and from new immigrants to meet the industry’s long-term needs.”

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Manitoba’s big construction labour market expansion to be followed by a slight contraction to 2028

January 31, 2019

Ottawa — Construction employment nearly doubled in Manitoba between 2002 and 2017. Following a pause in 2018, the labour force will peak in 2019 and fall modestly to 39,500 workers by 2028 – a decline of 1,900 workers from current levels, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

Construction employment in 2019 will be driven by an increase in concurrent major projects, including ongoing work on Manitoba Hydro’s Keeyask Generating Station, Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline replacement, several commercial office projects, a number of food processing facilities, and major transportation and other infrastructure projects.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial forecast report predicts a moderate slowdown in 2020, as declines in new housing construction, the completion of major hydro-related projects, and reduced investment in road and highway infrastructure projects contribute to lower levels of construction activity.

Most of the employment declines will occur over the next three years. The non-residential sector accounts for 60% of construction employment in Manitoba, and engineering construction remains the dominant driver of labour demands. The anticipated reduction in engineering investment should translate into lower levels of employment from 2019 to 2021.

“The overall declines in the labour force should be modest relative to the scale of significant expansion we’ve seen over the past decade that has been driven by major hydro-related projects, infrastructure investments, and immigration-driven population growth,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada.

New housing construction is expected to continue to decline through 2019 and 2020, but stabilize thereafter. Renovation activity is projected to grow at 2% annually to 2028.

Approaching 2028, employment levels are projected to return to a period of moderate growth. Industrial building construction is projected to continue to lead growth after 2021, driven by a continued expansion in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors.

About 8,000 workers — one in five members of the current labour force — are projected to retire by 2028. About 6,100 additional workers will need to be recruited to balance the shortfall.

“While the overall population is aging, Manitoba’s population still skews younger than other provinces,” says Ferreira. “Enough workers under 30 years of age should be available locally to meet anticipated future provincial construction demands.”

While the recruitment prospects in Manitoba are better than in other provinces, the industry must guard against complacency. The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 9,000 apprentices registered in the province’s 15 largest construction programs, with 4,500 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women employed in Manitoba represented 47% of the province’s total labour force. In the province’s construction and maintenance industry, however, women represented just 12% of the industry’s labour force and accounted for only 2.9% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. Similarly, the participation of Indigenous Canadians could also be increased, which as a group, currently account for 16% of the total provincial construction labour force. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Manitoba’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 15% new Canadians. Over the coming decade, the province is expected to welcome an average of 14,650 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

New Brunswick: A relatively stable construction economy for New Brunswick over the next decade

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – A relatively stable construction market with only moderate changes to total employment levels is expected for New Brunswick through 2028, but the industry will still need to replace more than 7,400 workers expected to retire over the coming decade, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial forecast report foresees a modest decline in new housing and engineering construction, buttressed by rising levels of residential renovation work, industrial expansion, and infrastructure investment. Employment demands over the longer term are potentially supported by rising maintenance and renewed engineering construction requirements.

“Moderate declines in new homebuilding and a reduction in road, highway, and bridge infrastructure investment could contribute to a slight decline of 5% in overall employment between 2019 and 2021,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “These declines are projected to be partly offset by work on a number of hospital projects and rising investment in the manufacturing sector that contribute to modest gains in total industrial, commercial, and institutional building construction.”

Starting in 2022, the anticipated timing of work on the Mactaquac hydro dam along with other infrastructure projects should bolster non-residential employment requirements. The dam project is expected to increase demand for electricians, millwrights, concrete finishers, crane operators, pipefitters, carpenters, and labourers.

Rising exports and growth in the manufacturing sector should increase construction of industrial buildings between 2019 and 2024. Over the same period, hospital projects in Bathurst, Saint John, and Fredericton should sustain activity in institutional construction.

Across the 2019–2028 scenario period, weakening demand for new housing may reflect a general slowing in the province’s population growth, but employment in the residential sector should be sustained near 2019 levels, as moderate growth in renovation investment helps to offset declines in the construction of new housing.

While overall employment is mostly unchanged, sustaining labour force capacity at current levels will require ongoing recruitment and training of new workers to contend with the projected retirement of 7,400 workers, or 30% of the current labour force. Based on historical trends, New Brunswick’s construction industry is expected to draw in an estimated 4,500 first-time new entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population. Consequently, the construction industry will need to work harder to replace retiring workers as the province’s age demographic skews older, population growth slows, and other industries compete for youth entering the labour force.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 4,700 apprentices registered in New Brunswick’s 15 largest construction programs, with 2,700 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled labour force over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women employed in New Brunswick represented 49% of the province’s total labour force. In the province’s construction and maintenance industry, however, women represented just 2.1% of the labour force employed in direct on-site project construction. Similarly, Indigenous Canadians were also underrepresented in the industry, accounting for little more than 2.7% of the province’s construction labour force. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

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

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Newfoundland and Labrador: Further employment declines projected for Newfoundland and Labrador’s construction industry

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – Following the completion of major projects such as the Muskrat Falls generating station, construction employment requirements in Newfoundland and Labrador will trend downward over the coming decade in the absence of new and significant major projects, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report forecasts in the short term, projects such as the West White Rose wellhead platform and Voisey’s Bay underground mine should help moderate declines. With no new major projects currently scheduled to follow, however, the provincial labour force could experience further significant declines across the 2019–2028 scenario period.

“The prospect for the $6.8-billion Bay du Nord deepwater oil development project continues to be a source of optimism for the industry,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “That project is not currently included in our outlook scenario, but a decision to proceed will still only help mitigate some of the projected employment declines.”

While non-residential investment levels have retreated with the wind down of major projects, they should remain above historical levels throughout the scenario period. Over the past 10 years, the province’s construction labour force increased substantially as investment levels in non-residential construction grew from $2.2 billion annually in 2010 to $7.7 billion in 2016. BuildForce projects levels will stabilize at just under $5 billion annually by 2028

Residential activity in the province is also expected to range lower, as an aging population contributes to a lowering of overall demand for new homes. Anticipated improvements in economic conditions are expected to help sustain renovation investment in 2019 through to 2028.

Over the coming decade, an estimated 5,800 workers – one quarter of the province’s construction labour force – are likely to retire, yet the industry is expected to draw into the labour force only 2,900 first-time entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population.

With competition for younger workers increasing, building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women represented just 11% of the province’s construction and maintenance industry labour force and accounted for only 4.0% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. Women employed in Newfoundland and Labrador’s total labour force, however, represented 50%.

Similarly, Indigenous Canadians also represented a small percentage of the construction labour force, accounting for little more than 8% of the total. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Over the coming decade, Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to welcome an average of 950 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry. Currently, the province’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 1% new Canadians.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 5,700 apprentices registered in the province’s 15 largest construction programs, with 2,800 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Nova Scotia construction labour market to remain stable through 2028

January 31, 2019

Ottawa — A stable overall construction market in Nova Scotia over the next decade is projected to result in flat levels of employment, but the construction and maintenance industry will still need to contend with the expected retirement of more than 8,100 workers over that period, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report forecasts construction employment will soften between 2020 and 2023 as demands related to major projects and new homebuilding recede, but then rises again through 2028 as new demand drives employment gains. By 2028, industry employment should be back to 2018 levels.  

While employment is expected to soften in the short term, levels rise modestly over the latter half of the 2019–2028 scenario period, helped by the start of the second phase of shipbuilding in the Canadian Surface Combatant project. A modest increase of 600 construction jobs is anticipated between 2023 and 2028 due to increases in the construction of industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) buildings and overall non-residential maintenance work.

Renovation and maintenance work, which accounted for almost three quarters of residential employment in 2018, is expected to rise steadily from 2019 to 2028, while total residential employment is expected to decline by a modest 500 workers. The residential sector should see housing starts decline to 2028, in line with slowing population growth.

“Work related to the decommissioning of the Sable and Deep Panuke natural gas facilities, highway twinning, and other road and bridge projects should sustain non-residential employment to 2021,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Strengthening economic conditions, bolstered by the second phase of the federal government’s shipbuilding program, support broader economic growth and have a positive impact on activity in the industrial and commercial sectors in 2023. Overall, employment is projected to be moderately higher by 2028, with a larger portion of the labour force engaged in maintenance and ICI building construction.”

Over the next 10 years, Nova Scotia’s construction industry will face the challenge of the retirement of more than 8,100 workers, or 28% of the current labour force. Based on historical trends, however, the province’s construction industry is expected to draw in only an estimated 5,000 first-time new entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population over the same period.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 6,600 apprentices registered in Nova Scotia’s 15 largest construction programs, with 2,940 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women represented just 10% of the province’s construction and maintenance industry labour force and accounted for only 2.3% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. In the province’s total labour force, however, women represented 57%.

Similarly, Indigenous Canadians also represented a small percentage of the construction labour force, accounting for little more than 5% of the total. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Over the coming decade, the province is expected to welcome an average of 3,960 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry. Currently, Nova Scotia’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 3.5% new Canadians.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

  • Trent Soholt, Executive Director, Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council, 902-832-4761, tsoholt@nscsc.ca
  • Duncan Williams, President and CEO, Construction Association of Nova Scotia, 902-468-2267, dwilliams@cans.ns.ca

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Ontario’s construction industry will need to recruit 103,900 new workers over the coming decade to keep pace with retirements and additional demand

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – The Ontario construction market, led by the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), is expected to retain its intensity through the coming decade, spurring the need for 103,900 additional workers, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report anticipates major project requirements across the province to rise to 2020, with the remainder of the decade seeing high levels of overall employment sustained by major nuclear refurbishment projects in the GTA and Southwestern Ontario, and continued investment in public transportation and infrastructure. Consequently, keeping pace with increasing employment demands across most of the province’s regions will remain a challenge.

While total residential employment is expected to recede slightly through to 2022, it should strengthen again and remain at near current levels across most regions over the decade. The pace of activity in new housing construction is expected to moderate across the 2019–2028 scenario period, but population growth will likely sustain high levels of demand for apartment and condo units in urban centres.

Non-residential construction continues on a steady upward trajectory, with investment expected to peak in 2020 and then plateau for three years, driven by several transportation (public transit, roads, highways, and bridges), utility (including nuclear refurbishment), and industrial projects. Beyond 2020, investment is expected to decline modestly from the peak, though employment is anticipated to remain well above historical levels.

“Ontario’s five regions – Central, Eastern, GTA, Northern and Southwestern – each tell a slightly different labour market story as employment demands stack up across the province,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada.

The most significant near-term growth is expected in Southwestern Ontario, where requirements related to nuclear refurbishment, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and the construction of industrial buildings increase non-residential employment by 4,000 workers between 2018 and 2021 – an 18% increase over three years.

Over the same period, the GTA will likely require an additional 5,300 workers to meet peak demands for the Eglinton LRT (light rail transit), Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear refurbishment, and other major public transportation and infrastructure projects.

In Eastern Ontario, phase two of the Ottawa LRT, new hospital projects, and revitalization projects at Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ Chalk River facilities contribute to an additional 3,200 workers needed by 2021 – or a 15% increase compared to 2018.

Labour demands for projects in Central Ontario are more modest, but also positive, while in Northern Ontario, mining and utility projects sustain employment to 2022 and then decline slightly to 2025 before growth resumes.

“Competing non-residential demands across regions are likely to limit the potential for labour force mobility to meet peak major project requirements, which draw on many of the same trades and occupations,” says Ferreira. “The anticipated slowing pace of residential construction presents a potential supply pool of workers for those with matching skills and qualifications.”

Sustaining capacity over the latter half of the decade will be made more challenging by the expected retirement of 91,100 workers – one quarter of Ontario’s current construction labour force. When coupled with demand increases, the province will need to find an additional 103,900 construction workers to meet its future needs. Attracting new workers to the industry will be crucial to meet long-term needs. The industry can potentially draw 77,800 new entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population, but a projected gap of close to an additional 26,100 workers will need to be met from outside the province’s construction labour force.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 54,000 apprentices registered in Ontario’s 15 largest construction programs, with 35,500 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women in Ontario’s construction and maintenance industry represented just 13% of the industry’s labour force and accounted for only 3.9% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. In the province’s total labour force, however, women represented 48% of workers.

Similarly, Indigenous Canadians were also underrepresented in the industry, accounting for little more than 2.7% of the province’s construction labour force. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Over the coming decade, Ontario is expected to welcome an average of 131,000 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry. Currently, Ontario’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 26% new Canadians.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

  • Mike Carter, Executive Director, London & District Construction Association, 519-453-5322, M.Carter@ldca.on.ca
  • Giovanni Cautillo, Executive Director, Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association, 905-629-7766 ext. 229, giovanni.cautillo@oswca.org
  • Ian Cunningham, President, Council of Ontario Construction Associations, 416-968-7200 ext. 224, icunningham@coca.on.ca
  • John A. DeVries, President, Ottawa Construction Association, 613-236-0488 ext. 10, jdv@oca.ca
  • Patrick Dillon, Business Manager and Secretary Treasurer, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, 416-347-8245, patrick@ontariobuildingtrades.com
  • Andrew Pariser, Vice-President, RESCON, 416-970-7665, pariser@rescon.com
  • Adam Pinder, Executive Director, Director of Labour Relations, Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association, 705-759-8830, adam@ssmca.com
  • Sean Reid, Vice President and Regional Director (Ontario), Progressive Contractors Association of Canada (PCA), 905-802-1003, sreid@pcac.ca

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Prince Edward Island construction industry bracing for busy start to the coming decade

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – Prince Edward Island is bracing for its busiest construction season ever in 2019, and while labour pressure will ease later in the coming decade, the industry will have to remain nimble to ensure that labour supply meets demand, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

The province is experiencing a construction boom contained in a small market, driven by continued growth in housing starts and peak levels of investment in engineering projects and industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) buildings.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial report forecasts steady immigration-driven population growth will sustain demand for new housing and public-service facilities across the coming decade, adding 600 jobs by 2022 – a 13% increase over four years. Over the latter half of the decade, moderating housing demand and lower levels of engineering and ICI investment should produce a modest decline in provincial industry employment.  

“Meeting labour market demands depends on the ability of industry and training institutions to scale up recruitment and training capacity over a short period,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The strong expansion in labour force requirements has been met in part by attracting workers from outside the local residential construction market, including workers from other sectors, industries, and in some cases, from outside the province. In the short term, the industry will need to rely on greater worker mobility and continue to engage large numbers of young people to enter the construction labour force.”

Total residential construction demands could add close to 400 jobs by 2022 and remain at elevated levels throughout the decade. Housing starts in Prince Edward Island surpassed 1,000 units in 2018, propelled by strong economic growth and the in-flow of nearly 8,000 immigrants to the province. Sustained levels of immigration are expected to contribute to elevated housing starts of up to 1,300 units by 2021, before returning to current levels by 2028.

Total non-residential employment is projected to rise by 13%, adding 300 jobs by 2028 compared to the 2018 starting point. Construction of ICI buildings is expected to sustain moderate employment growth over the scenario period.

PEI’s construction industry is anticipated to lose 1,500 workers to retirement between 2019 and 2028 – 27% of its current labour force. Based on historical trends, the province’s industry is expected to draw in an estimated 1,200 first-time new entrants aged 30 and younger from the local population.

Building a sustainable labour force will require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current industry labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians. Women represent 49% of the province’s labour force, but only about 4.0% of the PEI construction labour force working in direct trades and occupations tracked by BuildForce. In 2016, an estimated 9.6% of Indigenous Canadians were employed in the country’s construction industry, but represented less than 1% of PEI’s construction labour force working directly on construction projects. Prince Edward Island has opened the doors to new Canadians, and this in-flow has played a key role in labour markets. The immigrant population will continue to be a key source of potential labour force growth, as the province is estimated to welcome 27,000 new immigrants between 2019 and 2028.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 900 apprentices registered in PEI’s 14 largest construction programs, with 450 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled labour force over the long term. 

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

  • Allan Manley, Executive Officer, Canadian Home Builders Association – Prince Edward Island, 902-218-6423, allan@chba-pei.ca
  • Sam Sanderson, General Manager, Construction Association of Prince Edward Island, 902-628-5421, sam@capei.ca

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

Saskatchewan: Reduced investment in construction could present long-term labour force challenges for Saskatchewan

January 31, 2019

Ottawa – Labour force demand in Saskatchewan’s construction and maintenance industry should remain largely unchanged by 2028, although the coming decade could be punctuated by recruiting challenges driven by a housing recovery and a proposed large-scale mining project, according to the labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

The province’s construction and maintenance labour force contracted for a fourth-straight year in 2018. Since the 2014 peak, the provincial industry has lost more than 7,000 jobs, as major industrial engineering projects were winding down and housing starts declined by 50% over this period. Continued declines in 2018 were attributed to an 18% decrease in housing starts that were reduced to their lowest level since 2009. Ensuring weaker levels of construction activity do not prompt an excessive flight of skilled workers from the labour force will be an ongoing industry concern.

BuildForce Canada’s 2019–2028 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward provincial forecast report warns that a continued flight of workers from the industry could cause recruiting challenges later in the coming decade, as demand for new housing increases and coincides with the start of a new major mining project.

“Saskatchewan’s construction and maintenance industry is transitioning from a market dominated by large engineering projects to one characterized by long-term residential and industrial, commercial, and institutional building construction,” says Bill Ferreira, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The industry will need to take a long-term view by continuing outreach efforts and maintaining its training capacity during this transition.”

While high retirement levels are depleting the ranks of construction and maintenance workers across the country, Saskatchewan remains in a unique position, where the 9,400 retiring workers leaving the industry over the coming decade could be replaced almost entirely by new entrants aged 30 or younger from the local population. The province should require a total of 9,500 new construction and maintenance workers by 2028.

The development of skilled tradespersons in the construction industry takes years, and often requires participation in a provincial apprenticeship program. Over the past five years, more than 10,000 apprentices registered in the province’s 15 largest construction programs, with 6,800 completions registered during that period. An ongoing commitment to training and apprenticeship development will be necessary to ensure there are sufficient numbers of qualified tradespeople to sustain a skilled workforce over the long term.

Building a sustainable labour force will also require the construction and maintenance industry to increase recruitment from groups traditionally underrepresented in the current construction labour force, including women, Indigenous Canadians, and new Canadians.

In 2018, women employed in Saskatchewan represented 46% of the province’s total labour force. In the province’s construction and maintenance industry, however, women represented just 12% of the industry’s labour force and accounted for only 3.9% of workers employed in direct on-site project construction. Similarly, Indigenous Canadians also represented a small percentage of the construction labour force, accounting for little more than 12% of the total. Increasing the participation rate of both these groups would go a long way to helping the industry address its future labour force needs.

Saskatchewan’s construction workforce is made up of approximately 8% new Canadians. Over the coming decade, the province is expected to welcome an average of 13,710 newcomers every year, making the immigrant population an important future source of potential workers for the province’s construction and maintenance industry.

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 labour force requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada’s construction and maintenance industry. Visit www.constructionforecasts.ca.

For further information, contact Bill Ferreira, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, at ferreira@buildforce.ca or 613-569-5552 ext. 222.

This report was produced with the support and input of a variety of provincial construction and maintenance industry stakeholders. For local industry reaction to this latest BuildForce Canada report, please contact:

  • Warren Douglas, Executive Director, CLR Construction Labour Relations Association of Saskatchewan Inc., 306-352-7909, WDouglas@clrs.org
  • Chris M. Guérette, CEO, Saskatoon & Region Home Builders’ Association, 306-292-8610, cguerette@saskatoonhomebuilders.com

  • John Lax, Director of Advocacy and Communications, Saskatchewan Construction Association, (306) 525-0171, johnl@scaonline.ca

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program.

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