Preliminary work underway at site of new $2.2-billion polyethylene plant in St. Clair Township Dec. 8, 2017 (BlackburnNews.com photo)

Construction Workforce Will Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

BuildForce Canada says it’s a great time for young people to consider careers in the trades.

The organization’s latest labour market forecast is predicting that Ontario’s construction workforce will need to expand by more than 100,000 workers this decade to keep up with a series of major projects.

Executive Director Bill Ferreira says up to 87,000 construction workers are expected to retire in the next ten years.

“There will be considerable demand for construction [jobs] in Ontario,” says Ferreira. “We’re looking at about 20% of the Ontario construction workforce retiring during that period. So, it really is a good time for anyone who is considering what their career choice will be. Certainly take a look at the skilled trades because there are so many opportunities, even beyond construction, although obviously, that’s where we would like them to come.”

While the need is high, Ferreira expects only 15,000 new workers will be hired — most of them between now and 2021 — putting significant strain on the industry.

He says more workers will be needed to construct NOVA Chemicals new $2.2-billion polyethylene plant in St. Clair Township, the new international bridge in Windsor and nuclear refurbishments.

“NOVA’s been doing a lot of work with the local construction industry to identify their labour requirements for this project,” says Ferreira.

It’s anticipated up to 1,400 construction workers will be at the NOVA site at any given time.

“There will be one major nuclear refurbishment starting late next year,” says Ferreira. “We think that the NOVA project will be built before the second one begins, which will be later in our forecast period. So, while labour markets will be tight, the kinds of workers that will be required for this plant are the type that would also be involved in many of the refurbishment projects we’re foreseeing.”

The Sarnia Construction Association has said the bulk of the jobs will go to local workers, although some out-of-towners may be called in.

The full report from Build Force Canada can be found at :
https://www.constructionforecasts.ca/en/content/ontarios-construction-workforce-strained-major-projects.