Construction Workforce Contracts in Newfoundland and Labrador as Major Projects Wind Down

January 31, 2017

Falling oil and gas prices and major project completions and delays will significantly reduce the construction workforce over the next five years, creating potential recruitment challenges when a new round of projects start later in the period, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“The current downturn and rising retirements make it all the more difficult to prepare for the next wave of proposed engineering projects,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Over 3,000 workers may be needed when those projects are expected to start in 2022.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows rising unemployment as major projects wind down and mining and offshore development projects are delayed. As the population declines, new housing construction continues to cycle down and home renovation work softens. Ongoing road, highway and non-residential maintenance work result in small job gains in 2017. The anticipated recovery is expected to stabilize new housing investment and increase home renovation and ICI building construction. The start of potential planned new resource projects between 2022 and 2024 will drive job growth, although employment will remain 25 percent below 2016 levels by the end of the forecast period.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Overall residential employment is expected to decline by 20 percent over the next ten years with most job losses between now and 2020;
  • The loss of an additional 6,500 non-residential construction jobs between 2017 and 2021;
  • As many as 3,900 jobs may be added at the height of the proposed second wave of engineering projects between 2022 and 2025.

“A strong focus on recruitment and training is a must, with over 5,000 skilled workers retiring this decade,” added Sparks. “That’s 21 percent of the workforce that isn’t easily replaced, especially during a slower economy.”

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: Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada, or (905)-852-9186

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Initiatives Program