Major construction projects drive Ontario building skyward until 2019
Big industrial and utility projects will drive construction employment to near record highs in Ontario over the next few years. Building will expand steadily until 2019, though gains will not be distributed evenly throughout the province and will cause some volatility in regional housing markets.
A new forecast scenario published by the Construction Sector Council (CSC) says an estimated 60,000 new workforce entrants are expected to 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 the 73,000 retirements.
The large size of the Ontario construction market conceals the impact of major projects on regional construction markets, says George Gritziotis, CSC executive director, noting that local housing cycles and the start and end of big industrial and utility projects create distinct peaks and troughs in each region. “But changes will be dominated by the big projects planned for the GTA,” he adds.
Construction Looking Forward: An assessment of construction labour markets from 2011-2019 for Ontario 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, vice president, Refurbishment Execution, Ontario Power Generation. “But for those working on the nuclear plants, supply will be particularly tight.”
“As we look forward, recruitment, technical and safety training are and will continue to be top priorities,” says Patrick Dillon, business manager/secretary treasurer, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario. “Providing enough qualified skilled workers to meet building demands is the key to a thriving industry, and that’s where our focus is.”
Each year, the CSC releases nine-year labour forecast scenarios for each province following consultations with industry leaders, including owners, contractors and labour groups, as well as governments and educational institutions. The Ontario report details the supply and demand for labour of each of the province’s five regions: GTA, Central, Eastern, Northern and Southwestern.