The Ontario Construction Secretariat’s (OCS) 2020 Contractor Survey has found that contractors’ business confidence has gone up this year in every region of the province.
Overall, 39 per cent of contractors in Ontario expect to conduct more work this year compared to last, while only 12 per cent expect less. Confidence is highest in the GTA where 43 per cent of contractors anticipate more work.
Looking at Ontario’s ICI construction industry as a whole rather than their own business, 44 per cent expect that there will be more construction activity this year, an increase from 2019 when only 31 per cent expected more activity.
Recruiting skilled workers and the aging workforce are contractors’ top concerns for the third year running. About three-quarters of contractors now consider recruitment a significant concern, with 57 per cent of contractors indicating that the aging workforce is a significant concern. Sixty-nine per cent of contractors anticipate that getting skilled labour will be more difficult this year than in 2019. Six-in-ten contractors report being affected by skilled labour shortages in the past three years.
Ninety per cent of contractors now believe that adopting new technologies is important to their firm’s future, up from 71 per cent two years ago.
General contractors are leading the way in adopting new technologies, with 26 per cent now reporting a dedicated budget for new technologies, up from 16 per cent in 2018.
Drones, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, and BIM are among the technologies with the biggest increases in adoption in the industry over the past two years.
“The real estate market has nine lives…every time it’s supposed to slow down due to higher interest rates, something bad happens elsewhere that takes interest rates lower and keeps the market going,” said Benjamin Tal, CIBC’s Deputy Chief Economist.
The OCS was formed in 1993 as a joint labour and management organization representing 25 unionized construction trades and their contractor partners in Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sector.
Its mandate is to enhance Ontario’s ICI construction industry by developing relationships, facilitating dialogue, providing value-added research, disseminating important information to client groups and promoting the value of ICI unionized construction across Ontario.