Major projects will drive construction job growth in Ontario and turn up the pressure to replace as much as 25% of the province’s skilled workforce retiring over the next decade, shows a report by BuildForce Canada.
Some of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects will drive growth in construction employment over the next 10 years. Forecast highlights include the following:
- A series of large resource and infrastructure projects will create waves of employment in engineering construction, with increased demand in Northern Ontario over the near-term to 2017 and steady growth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to 2019.
- Industrial work will recover, slowly restoring employment levels. Growth in industrial and commercial sectors is strongest in the GTA.
- Institutional and road, highway and bridge work decline over the near term, but rise modestly over the medium term.
- Housing construction recovers from a 2013 low point, with recovery reaching new peaks between 2015 and 2017 in the GTA, and Northern and Central Ontario, creating the potential for temporary, cyclical labour shortages.
- Retirements result in the need to replace as many as 83,000 skilled workers over the next decade.
- Mining and infrastructure projects, including the Ring of Fire, the Energy East pipeline project and ongoing hydroelectric and transmission work, bringing in a wave of new, often non-resident workers. The non-residential workforce increases by 40% between 2012 and 2017.
- In response, housing and commercial building also increases, with project demand exceeding the local workforce.
- Retirements will be higher in this region, given its older workforce. Recruitment efforts may focus on youth and the Aboriginal community.
- Recovery is anticipated in this region this year. Major project activity and a revival in housing help to fuel more jobs and the arrival of construction trades between now and 2017.
- Increased non-residential construction, including highway, bridge and utility work in 2014, peaks employment in 2017, creating potential recruiting challenges for some trades.
- There will be consistent recruiting challenges in this region. Non-residential building is expected to grow steadily, with the GTA planning some of the largest infrastructure projects in Canada. Key projects, including the “Big Move” and the refurbishment of a nuclear facility, are planned to start, with activity peaking in 2019. This leaves the GTA with rising labour requirements.
- After a low in 2013, residential employment rises, peaking in 2019 and then staying at levels close to 2012.
- There will be steady growth in most sectors, with a sharp improvement in residential construction in 2015. This increases demand for selected trades and occupations.
- Non-residential construction is on a moderate upward trend, with steady growth in industrial, commercial and institutional construction. Engineering construction follows a mild cycle as major projects start up and then wind down.
- Construction employment remains relatively unchanged over the next decade. Institutional, road, bridge and other government spending will slow.
- Slower growth translates into a moderate decline in residential employment.
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