On-Site Magazine

Ontario contractors predict a busy 2018 in OCS survey

By Jillian Morgan   


2018 construction outlook OCS

The OCS was formed in 1993 as a joint labour/management organization representing 25 unionized construction trades and their contractor partners in Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sector.

Ontario’s contractors expect a busy year, according to the Ontario Construction Secretariat’s (OCS) 2018 Contractor Survey.

Compared to last year, 32 per cent of respondents forecast a busy 2018, and 83 per cent expect to conduct more or the same amount of business in 2018.

Still, despite a positive outlook, the province’s contractors entered 2018 with slightly less optimism compared to this time last year.

“Both the Canadian and Ontario economies are moving into a period of transition and the outlook for the construction sector is currently bright but will be shifting,” said Peter Hall, vice president and chief economist for Export Development Canada.


The 2018 Contractor Survey is released as part of the 18th Annual State of the Industry and Outlook Conference, held on March 8 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The half-day event explored the theme “Technology and Innovation: Changing the Way We Build.”

According to regional data from the survey, over a third of contractors in each of the province’s regions forecast an increase in business in 2018.

In both the Southwest and Eastern regions, 34 per cent of contractors are optimistic of added business, followed by Central Ontario (33 per cent) and the Greater Toronto Area (32 per cent).

The only region to show a drop in business confidence for 2018 is Northern Ontario, where just 22 per cent expect more business in 2018 and nearly a quarter forecast less work.

A sector analysis reveals strong optimism in the engineering sector, with 47 per cent of contractors predicting increased activity, followed by 39 per cent of contractors in the institutional and high-rise residential sectors.

Ontario’s commercial and industrial sectors are less optimistic with 35 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively, expecting increased activity.

Labour market issues topped the list of contractors’ concerns, along with recruitment of skilled workers and an aging workforce.

Narrowing in on contractors’ perceptions of new technologies in the construction industry, the survey revealed that almost three-quarters believe new technology is important to the future of their business.

The top three technologies identified by contractors as having both a high likelihood of adoption and high impact on business are: jobsite data collection, advanced building materials and automated technology.



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