Downplaying Canada’s Skilled Trades Shortage Shortsighted

October 30, 2013

BuildForce Canada Says Action Needed Now 

Ottawa – A recent TD Economics report focusing on Canada’s skilled trades shortages may be masking real, and serious skilled labour challenges faced by Canada’s construction industry,” according to BuildForce Canada.

“The reality is that there are, and will be, acute skilled trade challenges within the construction industry in parts of Canada that simply cannot be ignored,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada, a national industry-led organization that provides critical labour market forecasts. “While we support the TD Economics report recommendation that Canada cannot take a wait and see approach, this report does not address specific challenges revealed by a more detailed analysis of sector specific labour markets.”

Canada’s strong resource construction sector will continue to put significant pressure on an already tight labour market in Western Canada, Northern Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador over the next decade. In these provinces, challenges created by an aging workforce and skilled trades shortages are real. For example:

  • Current shortages of skilled construction trades including carpenters, plumbers, electricians and welders threaten project schedules and production delays in Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Industry will be challenged to meet demands for skilled construction trades, given a new wave of construction investment in Alberta’s oil sands over the medium term;
  • In BC, major mining and LNG projects are scheduled to start in the next few years, again challenging industry to meet demands for skilled construction trades.

BuildForce Canada continually consults with industry and monitors the economic environment, proposed major construction projects and workforce supply, to provide annual in-depth construction labour market forecast data and reports that assist Canada’s construction industry in meeting the demand for skilled labour.

“Our forecasts indicate a shortfall of skilled construction tradespeople over the next decade, as new projects move forward and over 200,000 workers, or close to 25 per cent of the construction workforce retire,” Sparks added. “This is the time to be aggressive in planning for the future and promoting careers in skilled trades. Industry requires short-term and long-term strategies to ensure a skilled workforce is available to meet demand. Our economy also depends on it.”

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. Visit:


Rosemary Sparks
Executive Director, BuildForce Canada