Alberta Leads Canada Through Next Wave of Construction

February 20, 2014
Alberta – Alberta continues to lead Canada’s construction industry through the next decade, with major new oil sands projects and residential work driving job growth in virtually every year between now and 2023, according to BuildForce Canada.
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows the pace of expansion has resumed, with construction employment across all markets growing past the 2008 peak by 2013.
Major resource and engineering projects lead non-residential job growth in every year over the next decade. The start-up of new major oil sands projects this year and hiring related to flood damage repair, boost hiring in 2014.
“While Alberta’s construction industry has adapted well to conditions to date, there may be recruiting challenges,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “There’s stiff competition for skilled labour in other provinces, and meeting local needs won’t be easy. As retirements rise, we are also facing the potential loss of thousands of skilled and experienced workers.”
Alberta will need to replace as many as 45,000 workers, as up to 22 percent of its workforce retires over the next decade.
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows that Alberta leads the demand for skilled and specialized labour in major projects across Canada: 
  • The oil sands industry matures and capacity grows larger, shifting employment from new capital projects to increased ongoing maintenance work and sustaining capital projects over the long term.
  • Industrial, transportation, electricity generation and transmission and pipeline work add to labour demands. As many known projects wind down, a brief pause in 2015 is followed by moderate employment growth from 2016 to 2023. Most of the current scheduled projects add jobs from 2015 to 2019.
  • Commercial and institutional activity grows slowly from 2016 to 2019 and then provides a steady increase in jobs from 2020 to 2023.
  • Residential construction spending and employment will exceed the 2007 peak, with a rise in renovations and repairs. Improving conditions resulted in strong housing starts in 2012 and 2013. Activity will plateau this year, then move up and down in mild cycles to 2023.
Alberta pioneered the practice of bringing in workers from outside the province and country. Alberta’s non-resident workforce is rising as its labour force expands to meet project demands.
“Alberta’s skilled labour requirements far exceed those of other provinces, and that makes building a strong, permanent workforce a must,” added Sparks. “There’s a real need to continue promoting skilled trades careers as well as ensuring training and retention programs are sufficient to support the next generation of workers.”
BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization committed to providing accurate and timely labour market data and analysis to assist in meeting workforce requirements and advancing the needs of Canada’s construction industry. BuildForce consults with industry stakeholders, including owners, contractors, labour groups and government to compile and validate its labour market information. Visit:
For further information contact:  
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
Funded by the Government of Canada