Canada will need an estimated 319,000 new construction workers from 2012 to 2020 to keep pace with increased construction demand and to compensate for the rising number of expected retirements, says the national summary report, Construction Looking Forward, 2012–2020 Key Highlights.
“As the industry enters this second decade of strong growth, stakeholders are drawing on past experience to find ways to meet future demand,” says CSC Business Co-chair Tim Flood, President of John Flood and Sons (1961) Ltd. “Recruiting for the projects is the first priority, but there is a second, critical challenge related to training and retaining workers to meet current needs as well as long-term needs.”
“The industry is working to ensure that investments in apprenticeships and other types of training and support systems keep pace with demand,” he says.
According to the forecast report, the national construction labour force is estimated to rise by 100,000 workers between 2012 and 2020 to meet demand associated with increased construction activity. Much of the expansion will be driven by major projects in non-residential construction and, more specifically, by large industrial and engineering projects. With the exception of a few provinces, residential construction markets continue to recover at a slower pace compared to previous peak levels of activity and employment.
CSC Labour Co-chair Robert Blakely, Director of Canadian Affairs for the Building and Construction Trades Department AFL-CIO says, “Another major challenge for human resource managers will be in tracking the mobility of the key non-residential trades across regions and potentially from abroad.”
This year’s forecast highlights a new dimension in the national competition for skilled workers that focuses on specialized labour markets created by the increase in resource projects such as mining, oil and gas, pipelines, electrical generation and transmission.
“Many of these projects are in remote, northern locations,” continues Blakely, “but the scale of this work generates significant demand requirements across many provinces.” Mapping the proposed start-up of large major projects in some regions and the winding down of projects in others will be critical for assessing the potential for inter-provincial mobility to meet peak demand requirements. Key challenges will be identifying the availability of workers, the portability of skills and their willingness to work in remote areas.
At a press conference held near Toronto, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney, reported that the program, due to take effect on 2nd January 2013, will accept a maximum of 3,000 people in the first year. The Canadian minister said: “to prevent the accumulation of requests, in the initial year only 3,000 applications will be accepted, but I repeat that this number will grow. It will be a test year and I expect to raise these numbers.”
The announcement has been applauded by business organisations which for years have requested that the Canadian authorities make changes to the immigration system, which gives priority to the entry of immigrants with college degrees, in order to expedite the entry of workers in high-demand trades.
Canadian property portals will be well advised to take the lead here, and offer a ‘low cost remote areas’ tab on their sites. It’s just not ‘buy’, ‘rent’, and ‘holiday rent’ homes anymore, by separating out important segments of the property market, i.e.: very affordable remote locations, customers are led to the types of properties that they are most interested in seeing, or consequently they do not see the listings that they are not interested in. Less clicks to get to what you want to see, should be your mantra.