Rising retirements, new projects apply labour recruitment pressures in Ontario
March 17, 2015 by STAFF REPORT
Major projects are increasing demand for construction workers in Ontario, at a time when the industry is also under pressure to replace thousands of retiring skilled workers, according to the latest forecast from 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 per cent 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
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