New Brunswick Construction Industry Must Focus on Rebuilding Workforce

February 19, 2014
New Brunswick – Planning for major new projects will be a top priority for New Brunswick’s construction industry, as retirements and out-of-province projects draw on the skilled labour pool, according to BuildForce Canada. 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada, shows a moderate decline in construction employment over the next two years before the start of new major engineering projects create employment opportunities in 2016. Across the outlook scenario, industry faces the growing challenge of an aging workforce, with as many as 6,000 skilled tradespeople or 28 percent of the current labour force expected to retire.
“Replacing retirees and building up the workforce is essential,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The goal is to be ready when specialized workers are needed for pipeline, mining, and marine terminal projects starting in 2016.”  
These projects may also involve recruiting New Brunswick’s skilled trades back from other provinces and/or hiring a temporary workforce from outside the province. 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows: 
  • Residential employment declines in line with decreased new housing starts, with the decline partially offset by moderate growth in renovations work.
  • Proposed new major industrial and engineering projects translate into strong demand from 2016 to 2018 for a selected group of trades and occupations with specialized skills and experience.
  • Competition for skilled labour from resource projects in Western Canada, including current and new projects in Alberta and British Columbia over the near term, as well as immediate opportunities in Newfoundland and Labrador. 
“The challenge is convincing skilled workers to stay and others to come back when projects at home ramp up,” added Sparks. “That’s why now is the time to focus on recruitment, training and retaining a skilled labour force.” 
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