Nova Scotia’s Construction Industry Needs to Prepare for Demographic One-Two Punch

January 31, 2017

Recruitment efforts will focus on countering a huge wave of retirements this decade, with over 8,000 new construction workers needed to replace retirees, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Industry needs to get ready for the impending demographic double-whammy,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The pool of available young workers is shrinking just as 25 percent of the current workforce gets set to retire in rapid succession. It takes careful planning to counter the loss of 8,000 retirees. Industry is losing a lot of skill and experience.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows industrial building, engineering construction and maintenance work is expected to sustain construction employment near current levels even as residential building slows and population growth declines. The completion of current projects reduces labour requirements this year and next, while shipbuilding and manufacturing activity rise in 2019 and 2020.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:

  • Residential construction will decline by 18 percent over the next ten years with the loss of 3,000 jobs, while renovation work resumes growth after 2021;
  • Non-residential construction rises including maintenance, adding 1,300 jobs, a 10 percent increase this decade.

“Nova Scotia has one of the oldest populations in Atlantic Canada, making it far more challenging to build a sustainable workforce,” added Sparks. “That puts greater emphasis on attracting workers from outside the province to meet labour requirements.”

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