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Don’t downplay Canada’s skilled trades shortage, insists BuildForce


October 30, 2013 – BuildForce Canada takes issue with a recent TD Economics report focusing on Canada’s skilled trades shortages, saying the report may be masking real, and serious skilled labour challenges faced by Canada’s construction industry.

“While we support the TD Economics report recommendation that Canada cannot take a wait-and-see approach, this report does not address specific challenges revealed by a more detailed analysis of sector specific labour markets,” argued Rosemary Sparks, executive director of BuildForce.

Originally created in 2001 as the Construction Sector Council, BuildForce is an industry-led organization that works with the construction industry to provide information and resources with the aim of helping industry manage its workforce requirements.

“The reality is that there are, and will be, acute skilled trade challenges within the construction industry in parts of Canada that simply cannot be ignored,” added Sparks.

Canada’s strong resource construction sector will continue to put significant pressure on an already tight labour market in Western Canada, Northern Ontario and Newfoundland & Labrador over the next decade, explains BuildForce, adding “In these provinces, challenges created by an aging workforce and skilled trades shortages are real”.

In Newfoundland & Labrador alone, says BuildForce, current shortages of skilled construction trades—including electricians—threaten project schedules.

“Our forecasts indicate a shortfall of skilled construction tradespeople over the next decade, as new projects move forward and over 200,000 workers—or close to 25% of the construction workforce—retire,” Sparks added. “This is the time to be aggressive in planning for the future and promoting careers in skilled trades. Industry requires short-term and long-term strategies to ensure a skilled workforce is available to meet demand. Our economy also depends on it.”