Construction Up in Ontario; Skilled Workers Down
A new forecast scenario published by the Construction Sector Council (CSC) says big industrial and utility construction projects will expand steadily—though not evenly across all locations—in Ontario until 2019. In fact, so many jobs will be created that there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill the slots.
Construction Looking Forward: An assessment of construction labour markets from 2011-2019 for Ontario, released last week, estimates 60,000 new workforce entrants will join the province’s construction workforce over the next nine years. But the industry will still need to recruit almost 100,000 more to meet demand and to compensate for 73,000 retirements.
George Gritziotis, CSC executive director, says both residential and non-residential construction are on a gradual upward track, with proposed industrial, commercial, institutional, mining and utilities projects leading the way. Expansion of public transit in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and parts of Central Ontario, new mining facilities in Northern Ontario, building related to the 2015 Pan American games, and investments in energy infrastructure such as nuclear plants are among the major projects.
“The demand for construction skilled trades and occupations are expected to grow over the next nine years,” says Mark Arnone, VP of refurbishment execution at Ontario Power Generation. “For those working on the nuclear plants, supply will be particularly tight.”
Patrick Dillon, business manager/secretary treasurer at the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, says, “Providing enough qualified skilled workers to meet building demands is the key to a thriving industry, and that’s where our focus is.”