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Canada’s construction sector needs to adjust to changing conditions: BuildForce

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March 18, 2015 by STAFF REPORT

Replacing the 250,000 skilled labour retirees is an ongoing challenge faced by the construction sector. Industry can't afford to let up on recruitment, whether it's attracting young people, workers from other industries, or from outside the country.

The composition of resource-related investments is changing after more than a decade-long construction expansion, driven by new resource developments. Major infrastructure projects, sustaining capital and maintenance work that support Canada’s new resource capacity become important drivers of labour market demands, according the latest forecast from BuildForce Canada.

“As oil investments slow, opportunities continue in pipeline, transportation systems, electricity generation and distribution projects,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “New jobs are being created, supporting current and future resource production.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2015-2024 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows that Canada’s construction workforce must meet the demands of new and ongoing resource development, as well as sustaining and maintenance work. Despite weaker conditions at times during the 10-year forecast period, the workforce continues to grow, with 81,000 new jobs created. Industry’s bigger challenge is offsetting the rising number of retirements. Up to 250,000 construction workers, or 21 per cent of the workforce, is set to retire in the next decade.

“Replacing that many retirees is an ongoing challenge,” added Sparks. “Industry can’t afford to let up on recruitment, whether it’s attracting young people, workers from other industries, or from outside the country.”

BuildForce Canada’s annual forecast also shows:

Residential construction: Employment rises modestly across Canada from now to 2024, with stronger gains in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia. More than half of residential construction investment will be in renovation and maintenance work. Residential construction is more cyclical in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewanand Alberta, where resource project cycles drive new housing lower across the scenario period.

Non-residential construction: Employment grows gradually to 2024 with the strongest gains in the West. Engineering projects drive employment cycles inNewfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan. In Alberta, oil price declines drive oil and gas construction lower until 2017, when job growth resumes. Commercial construction is a steady source of new construction jobs across all provinces.

Highlights of BuildForce Canada’s 2015-2024 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast can be found for each province  at the links below:

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.

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