B.C.’s Construction Workforce Poised For Growth

January 31, 2017

The ramp-up of major projects in B.C., from proposed transportation, pipeline and LNG projects to highway and bridgework will bolster the province’s construction workforce by 24 percent, or almost 17,000 workers over the next five years, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“It’s potentially the most rapid rise we’ve seen in B.C.’s construction workforce in the past decade,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The pace and magnitude of many of these proposed projects will require the steady recruitment of new workers from the local workforce and from outside construction or outside the province to meet labour demands, especially in remote locations.” 

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows proposed transportation, pipeline, and LNG and mining investments are the primary driver behind B.C.’s construction job growth from now to the peak in 2021. Industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) building also continues on an upward trend, while new housing is expected to cycle down this year, following a period of extended expansion.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Following peak levels of activity, residential employment is expected to decline by about 15 percent workforce over the scenario period;
  • Renovation and maintenance work is expected to exceed new housing by 2022, accounting for almost two-thirds of residential employment;
  • The need to replace as many as 40,000 baby boomers retiring from construction in the next ten years.

“The retirement of 21 percent of B.C.’s construction workforce compounds the challenge for recruiters,” added Sparks. “Attracting more women and indigenous people to construction could be a big part of the solution in filling that skills gap. Right now they make up just four percent of the province’s skilled construction workforce.”

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: www.constructionforecasts.ca

For further information, contact: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, sparks@buildforce.ca or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program