Press Releases

Rising Retirements and New Projects Turn Up Construction Industry Recruitment Pressures

March 16, 2015

Ontario – Major projects are increasing demand for construction workers in Ontario, at a time when industry is also under pressure to replace thousands of retiring skilled workers, according to the latest forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“Major projects and aging demographics are two forces the industry must plan for,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Recruiting, hiring and training are a priority, given that over 21 percent of the Ontario construction workforce is retiring in the next 10 years.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2015-2024 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows that the construction labour force in Ontario continues to expand, adding 23,400 skilled workers between now and 2024.

“Ontario’s construction workforce is expected to grow by about 6 percent over the forecast period,” added Sparks. “Most of that job growth will be in the GTA, driven by infrastructure and utilities projects that span well over a decade.”

Forecast highlights include the following:

  • Major resource and infrastructure projects ramp up over the next few years.  GTA transit and utilities work grows steadily.
  • There is continued expansion in commercial and recovery in industrial building.
  • Housing activity rises to a new high in 2021. Housing cycles in Northern and Southwest Ontario peak in 2016-2017. There will be annual gains in renovation employment.  
  • Rising retirements create the need to hire almost 87,000 new workers over the next decade.

BuildForce Canada’s forecast, by region:

Greater Toronto Area (GTA)

  • As the largest region in the province, the GTA dominates construction employment gains, adding up to 20,000 new jobs over the forecast period. Infrastructure projects sustain high levels of employment.

Central Ontario

  • This region sees modest gains in industrial activity, while commercial building rises to new record levels. There are limited gains in new housing. This region adds as many as 7,000 construction jobs across the forecast period.

Eastern Ontario

  • The region shows the slowest growth in the province, with modest employment loses by the end of the forecast period.

Northern Ontario

  • This year and next mark a turning point for this region. Mining and pipeline projects start up, sparking growth in housing and institutional, commercial and industrial (ICI) building. These projects attract as many as 4,000 workers. Housing enjoys a small rally in 2020 and 2021, restoring total residential employment to near current levels. From 2019 to 2024, employment in ICI building stabilizes below current levels.

Southwest Ontario

  • Major infrastructure and utilities projects will drive strong gains in non-residential construction employment. Up to 5,000 jobs are added to 2017. These jobs remain across the forecast period. A small up cycle in ICI building, starting in 2021, raises construction employment above current levels. There will be slower growth in housing construction later in the scenario.

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
 

Alberta Leads Canada Through Next Wave of Construction

February 20, 2014
Alberta – Alberta continues to lead Canada’s construction industry through the next decade, with major new oil sands projects and residential work driving job growth in virtually every year between now and 2023, according to BuildForce Canada.
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows the pace of expansion has resumed, with construction employment across all markets growing past the 2008 peak by 2013.
 
Major resource and engineering projects lead non-residential job growth in every year over the next decade. The start-up of new major oil sands projects this year and hiring related to flood damage repair, boost hiring in 2014.
 
“While Alberta’s construction industry has adapted well to conditions to date, there may be recruiting challenges,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “There’s stiff competition for skilled labour in other provinces, and meeting local needs won’t be easy. As retirements rise, we are also facing the potential loss of thousands of skilled and experienced workers.”
 
Alberta will need to replace as many as 45,000 workers, as up to 22 percent of its workforce retires over the next decade.
 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows that Alberta leads the demand for skilled and specialized labour in major projects across Canada: 
  • The oil sands industry matures and capacity grows larger, shifting employment from new capital projects to increased ongoing maintenance work and sustaining capital projects over the long term.
  • Industrial, transportation, electricity generation and transmission and pipeline work add to labour demands. As many known projects wind down, a brief pause in 2015 is followed by moderate employment growth from 2016 to 2023. Most of the current scheduled projects add jobs from 2015 to 2019.
  • Commercial and institutional activity grows slowly from 2016 to 2019 and then provides a steady increase in jobs from 2020 to 2023.
  • Residential construction spending and employment will exceed the 2007 peak, with a rise in renovations and repairs. Improving conditions resulted in strong housing starts in 2012 and 2013. Activity will plateau this year, then move up and down in mild cycles to 2023.
Alberta pioneered the practice of bringing in workers from outside the province and country. Alberta’s non-resident workforce is rising as its labour force expands to meet project demands.
 
“Alberta’s skilled labour requirements far exceed those of other provinces, and that makes building a strong, permanent workforce a must,” added Sparks. “There’s a real need to continue promoting skilled trades careers as well as ensuring training and retention programs are sufficient to support the next generation of workers.”
 
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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.
 
For further information contact:  
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada

B.C. Construction Employment Expected To Reach Unprecedented High

February 20, 2014
British Columbia  – B.C.’s construction industry will need to ramp up recruitment efforts to keep pace with planned projects and the retirement of more than 34,000 workers over the next decade, according to BuildForce Canada. 
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows major resource and infrastructure projects in the North help drive construction employment to an all-time high in 2017. 
 
“Recruitment efforts will need to focus on attracting workers from outside the province to bolster the local skilled workforce,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “This may mean competing for skilled labour with resource projects in other provinces.” 
 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows: 
  • Non-residential construction dominates job creation over the next decade. Employment growth accelerates each year to 2017, as major LNG projects and related pipeline work are expected to begin, along with a series of mining, electricity generation and transmission projects.
  • A brief surge in new housing in 2016 and 2017 coincides with the peak in non-residential projects and adds to potential labour market challenges. Through the rest of the scenario period, a gradual increase in housing stock results in steady gains in renovation and new housing construction jobs. 
“About 24 percent of the province’s skilled workforce is retiring over the next 10 years,“ added Sparks. “This creates unique challenges, given that retiring tradespeople in both housing and non-residential construction will be taking years of experience and specialized skills out of the 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: www.constructionforecasts.ca
 
For further information sontact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada

Major New Projects to Drive Construction Job Growth in Manitoba

February 20, 2014
Manitoba – Hydro projects planned in Manitoba’s North will jump-start construction job growth and demand for specialized trades, according to BuildForce Canada. 
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows a pattern of steady growth in residential and non-residential construction over the next 10 years. A pause in job growth this year and next eases recruitment challenges, with one noted exception. A new round of scheduled hydro projects in the North adds to construction employment growth over the next decade. Hiring will peak for a large number of specialized trades in 2016, and in 2020 and 2022. 
 
“A select group of skilled trades will be in high demand for major hydro projects,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Industry will need to keep its focus on skills training, recruitment and mobility to meet project requirements.”  
 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows: 
  • Road, highway and bridge construction declines marginally between now and 2015, but is expected to remain above historical activity levels for the remainder of the scenario period.
  • Housing activity is now leveling off. New housing starts and renovation work results in moderate growth and job opportunities in residential construction.
  • As many as 7,300 skilled workers, or approximately 21 percent of the workforce, will retire over the next decade, with this number only partially offset by young workers starting their careers. 
“Replacing the skills and experience of thousands of retiring workers takes major planning,” added Sparks. “The key is convincing workers to come back to this province and encouraging far more young people to sign up for skilled trades careers.” 
 
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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.
 
For further information contact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada

Saskatchewan’s Construction Industry Prepares for Shift in Workforce

February 20, 2014
Saskatchewan – Skilled labour requirements over the coming decade are changing, requiring many of the workers recruited over the last several years to stay on for major new projects, according to BuildForce Canada. 
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows construction activity and employment growth slows, but stays well above historical levels. Major resource projects that drove construction employment to a record high in 2013 come to completion, signaling some shift in the labour force away from big projects and housing. A large segment of the workforce will be employed in commercial and institutional building, where there is steady growth. 
 
“Although the focus for the construction industry is shifting, the goal is the same,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Building a strong, permanent workforce requires long-range planning to promote skilled trades to young people and to encourage out-of-province workers to stay.” 
 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:
  • Residential has been one of the fastest growing markets in Canada over the last few years, with a peak in residential construction in 2013. The housing labour force will shift to renovation work, partially offsetting slower new housing activity. The workforce remains well above historical levels at the end of the scenario period. 
  • Non-residential construction employment has increased by 50 percent since 2007. While major activity is expected to slow, with fewer opportunities in engineering construction, this is partially offset by steady but moderate growth in industrial, commercial and institutional construction. This keeps employment well above historical levels.  
  • Just under 7 thousand workers are expected to retire over the next decade, with retirements spread across all construction trades and occupations.
“This means 19 percent of the workforce will need to be replaced,” added Sparks. “Attracting and recruiting youth, Aboriginal people, women and newcomers to Canada will help to partially offset these retirements.” 
 
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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.
 
For further information contact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada

Construction Job Growth Forecast Across Most Regions of Ontario

February 19, 2014

Large Resource and Infrastructure Projects Drive Regional Growth

Ontario  Major projects will drive construction job growth in Ontario and turn up the pressure to replace as much as 25 percent of the province’s skilled workforce retiring over the next decade, according to BuildForce Canada.

The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows some of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects will drive growth in construction employment over the next 10 years. Forecast highlights include the following:

  • A series of large resource and infrastructure projects create waves of employment in engineering construction, with increased demand in Northern Ontario over the near term to 2017 and steady growth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to 2019.
  • Commercial activity also rises in all regions, adding jobs.
  • Industrial work recovers, slowly restoring employment levels. Growth in industrial and commercial sectors is strongest in the GTA.
  • Institutional and road, highway and bridge work decline over the near term, but rise modestly over the medium term.
  • Housing construction recovers from a 2013 low point, with recovery reaching new peaks between 2015 and 2017 in the GTA, and Northern and Central Ontario, creating the potential for temporary, cyclical labour shortages.
  • Retirements result in the need to replace as many as 83,000 skilled workers over the next decade. 

“Rising retirements, and major projects are two forces driving the industry,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Industry will need to step up recruitment efforts to attract workers from other provinces, more youth, women, Aboriginal people and new immigrants to construction.”

BuildForce Canada’s forecast, by region:

Northern Ontario

  • The workforce changes dramatically over the next decade, with mining and infrastructure projects, including the Ring of Fire, the Energy East pipeline project and ongoing hydroelectric and transmission work, bringing in a wave of new, often non-resident workers. The non-residential workforce increases by 40 percent between 2012 and 2017.
  • Housing and commercial building also increases in response, with project demand exceeding the local workforce.
  • Retirements will be higher in this region, given its older workforce. Recruitment efforts may focus on youth and the Aboriginal community.

Southwest Ontario

  • Recovery is anticipated in this region this year. Major project activity and a revival in housing help to fuel more jobs and the arrival of construction trades between now and 2017.
  • Increased non-residential construction, including highway, bridge and utility work in 2014, peaks employment in 2017, creating potential recruiting challenges for some trades.

GTA

  • There will be consistent recruiting challenges in this region. Non-residential building is expected to grow steadily, with the GTA planning some of the largest infrastructure projects in Canada. Key projects, including the “Big Move” and the refurbishment of a nuclear facility, are planned to start, with activity peaking in 2019. This leaves the GTA with rising labour requirements.
  • After reaching a low point in 2013, residential employment starts a stronger rising trend, peaking in 2019 and then staying at levels close to 2012. 

Central Ontario

  • There will be steady growth in most sectors, with a sharp improvement in residential construction in 2015. This increases demand for selected trades and occupations.
  • Non-residential construction is on a moderate upward trend, with steady growth in industrial, commercial and institutional construction. Engineering construction follows a mild cycle as major projects start up and then wind down.

Eastern Ontario

  • Construction employment remains relatively unchanged over the next decade. Institutional, road, bridge and other government spending will slow.
  • Slower growth translates into a moderate decline in residential employment.

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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.

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

Funded by the Government of Canada

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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.
 
For further information contact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada
 

P.E.I.'s Local Construction Industry Must Convince Skilled Workers to Stay

February 19, 2014
Prince Edward Island – Keeping skilled workers at home will be a major priority for Prince Edward Island’s construction industry to help counter rising retirement rates, according to BuildForce Canada.
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows retirement losses cannot be entirely offset by young people entering the workforce for the first time. 
 
“With as many as 1,500 workers retiring over the next 10 years, attracting, training and retaining a skilled workforce is more important than ever for the local construction industry,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “It will take real planning to replace the rising number of retirees.
 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows:
  • Labour requirements will rise with new investment in industrial and utility projects, and commercial and institutional building, helping to reduce unemployment rates to below average levels in 2015 and 2016.
  • While total employment by the end of the outlook period is virtually unchanged from 2013, with labour requirements met by the local workforce, this trend makes no allowance for workers finding jobs outside the province.
  • A brief downturn in residential activity in 2014 is followed by increased activity over the medium term and brings investment back to current levels. 
“The real challenge will be encouraging skilled workers to stay, and convincing others to return home when conditions improve in 2015,” added Sparks. “That’s when retirement pressures really set in and the province will need a larger skilled workforce to draw on.”  
 
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, including owners, contractors and labour groups to compile and validate its labour market information. Visit: www.constructionforecasts.ca.
 
For further information contact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada
 

Retirements and Resource Boom Test Newfoundland and Labrador's Construction Industry

February 19, 2014
Newfoundland and Labrador – Labour requirements of large resource projects coupled with the retirement of almost 25 percent of the province’s workforce over the next decade, create complex challenges for the construction industry, according to BuildForce Canada. 
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows the main challenge is recruiting for several large and remote resource and infrastructure projects. Between 2007 and 2012, provincial employment grew by 70 percent, or 6,000 workers, with the vast majority hired for resource projects. Construction employment reaches a record high in 2013 and 2014, before these projects wind down and many workers move on to jobs in other provinces. 
 
“That’s what the construction industry really has to prepare for,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Some of these workers will need to stay for ongoing projects, capital and maintenance work, and to replace as many as 4,700 retirees over the next 10 years.” 
 
BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows: 
  • Housing starts increased by almost 75 percent from 2006 to 2012, with residential employment rising by 35 percent during this period.  
  • Housing starts slow over the medium term and then remain at approximately 2,600 starts annually. Renovation work rises moderately, partially offsetting the decline in new residential. The residential sector may face skilled labour challenges, driven by an aging workforce and the potential for workers to be drawn to major resource projects.
  • Commercial and institutional building is closely linked to the provincial economy with steady but moderate growth expected, while industrial and engineering construction rises and falls with investments in mining, electricity generation and transmission and offshore oil projects. 
 “Industry has worked hard to keep pace with changing demands,” added Sparks. “Recruitment plans will need to be continually adjusted and tailored for each trade and occupation, to counter worker mobility and rising retirements.”
 
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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.  
 
For further information contact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada
 
 

Young Recruits Key to Building Nova Scotia’s Construction Industry

February 19, 2014
Nova Scotia – With well over 6,000 workers retiring over the next decade, Nova Scotia’s construction industry will need to step up efforts to attract more young people, according to BuildForce Canada. 
 
The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows modest employment growth at the same time as the industry faces an increase in retirements and out-of-province resource projects. 
 
“Up to 25 percent of the workforce will be retiring over the next decade, creating a real need for young, skilled workers,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “There is a lot of opportunity in construction, making it a great career choice for young people.” 
  • Employment opportunities will shift to industrial and utility projects, with commercial, industrial and utility construction supporting current levels of employment. Modest job growth and equal gains and losses will balance activity in most years to 2023.
  • Employment remains unchanged in the residential sector, as a gain in residential renovation balances a moderate downturn in new housing.
  • Nova Scotia’s older than average workforce adds to the pace of retirement, with just over 6,600 workers retiring over the next 10 years across all 33 trades and occupations tracked. 
“Projects in other provinces and industries, such as shipbuilding, also create skilled labour challenges for the construction industry,” added Sparks. “This is the new reality that makes recruiting, training and retaining a skilled construction workforce more important than ever.” 
 
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: www.constructionforecasts.ca.
 
For further information contact:
Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada
sparks@buildforce.ca
(905)-852-9186
 
Funded by the Government of Canada
 

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