Canada’s Construction Industry is Facing Severe labour Shortage, Skilled Immigrants Needed

Canada’s construction industry is one of a few sectors experiencing labour shortages particularly in Atlantic Canada, British Columbia and Ontario.

According to the latest BuildForce Canada assessment, owing to a huge cohort of retirees along with a small uptick in the demand for Canadian construction workers over the next 10 years, the industry will have hundreds of thousands of jobs to fill by 2028.

The research organization estimates that around 261,000 industry veterans will retire over the next decade, exceeding the number of projected new recruits (221,300) by nearly 40,000. Coupled with an anticipated four per cent increase in labour demands, the construction industry, alongside its closely-linked industrial maintenance industry, will need to attract and retain around 80,000 more workers than it currently expects in order to meet demand.

On a sector basis, residential builders will need to hire a total of 135,900 new workers between 2019 and 2028. However, non-residential demands are even higher. With 131,900 workers lined up for retirement, firms will require 164,300 new employees to fill an expected 32,400 new positions.

Required Skilled Immigrants

Canadian employers are facing an increasingly difficult time hiring the staff (especially the local) they need in today’s tight labour market.

Unable to fulfill their growing labour demands with local talent, majority of construction firms are looking to hire new immigrants to fill their work shortages. Specifically, the industry is “looking for permanent immigrant employees as the workforce retires,” says Michael Atkinson, president of the Canadian Construction Association.

With some 300,000 immigrants arriving in Canada in each of the next 10 years, the research group- BuildForce Canada asserts that any effort to build a sustainable labour force will need fresh initiatives to attract newcomers into construction industry.

More than 300,000 new construction jobs are likely to be created in the country over the next seven years; however, there will be no one to fill them unless more skilled immigrant workers are there to take them.

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