On-Site Magazine

Top 10 Canadian construction trends to watch in 2019

By On-Site Staff   


Between trade battles over steel and aluminum tariffs and halts to major projects such as the Trans Mountain Pipeline, Canada needs to ensure investors still see it as a safe bet

There is no shortage of changes, both positive and negative, the industry faces as 2018 comes to a close.

On-Site caught up with Mary Van Buren, the president of the Canadian Construction Association, to discuss the trends the industry association will be watching closest over the next 12 months. For a more in-depth look, you can read through our 2019 Canadian construction forecast here.


But without further ado, here are the 10 items that should be on every Canadian construction firm’s laundry list in 2019:



1 — Confidence in Canada

Approval issues for major projects and Canada’s relative tax disadvantage versus the U.S. could cause trouble for builders as investors think twice about their Canadian spending.


2 — Competition for talent

Despite near-record employment and a strong economy, the industry faces a significant challenge from an impending wave of retirements and competition for the next generation of talent.


3 — Inclusive workplaces

The construction industry has worked hard to better integrate women and First Nations on job sites. While attracting new recruits remains tough, companies are also shifting their focus beyond diversity and pursuing more inclusive, flexible workplaces.


4 — Social procurement

The federal government has tied social policy into its $180 billion infrastructure plan through, among other strategies, community employment benefits. It’s a trend the CCA expects to continue.


5 — Millennial leadership

Boomers are retiring and family-owned businesses are being passed down to sons and daughters. The culture of construction is certain to change as tech-savvy Millennials take the reins.

The industry continues to reach new heights, but adopting innovative new approaches will ensure growth continues

6 — Pay to play

Building new and repairing aging infrastructure isn’t cheap. Institutions such as the Canada Infrastructure Bank, as well as tools like toll roads, are expected to play a larger role as investors look for revenue streams.


7 — Innovation

Industry players are expected to step up their efforts to leverage new partnerships and technologies in 2019. Ultimately, these new solutions should solve long-standing industry problems.


8 — Privacy

Smart cities, smart roads and related data-gathering technologies are expected to become increasingly important. Keeping the data under wraps and collecting it with permission will prove a challenge.


9 — Productivity

Technology and innovation will continue to help the sector improve productivity, while embracing new strategies, such as accelerated capital depreciation for equipment, could also be beneficial.


10 — Trade war and trade woes

Canada, Mexico and the U.S. finally agreed to a new trade deal, but the months-long battle along with steel and aluminum tariffs should have companies looking for non-traditional suppliers.


This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of On-Site. You can read through the complete issue here.


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