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OCS Barometer shows Ontario contractors encouraged by 2014 prospects


March 6, 2014
By Anthony Capkun

March 6, 2014 – Prospects are bullish for Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector, according to an annual survey (download below) commissioned by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS). When looking ahead through 2014, the number of contractors expecting an increase in business is up from 2013, driving the OCS Construction Barometer to 64—a four-point increase over last year.

“Growth in the Greater Toronto Area is really fuelling optimism across the province in the non-residential construction sector,” said Sean Strickland, OCS CEO. “There are big projects on the books in all regions that are inspiring good feelings amongst our contractor partners.”

The Construction Barometer gauges contractors’ perceptions of business conditions over the next 12 months. Measured on a scale of 0 to 100, a reading above 50 indicates the amount contractors who expect to conduct more business in the coming year is greater than those who do not. The larger the gap above 50, the greater the level of optimism.

The 2014 survey finds nearly 40% of contractors anticipate conducting more business this year, dwarfing the mere 11% who expect business to drop. Although contractors are the most optimistic in the GTA, the biggest shift in perceptions year-over-year came from Eastern Ontario, where contractors are expecting to conduct more work, on balance, in each of the major construction sectors, led by the commercial, engineering and high-rise residential sectors.

Firms were the least optimistic on prospects for the institutional sector, which is consistent with continued fiscal austerity in the public sector.

The 2014 Construction Barometer was unveiled at the 14th annual OCS State of the Industry and Outlook Conference, where keynote economic speaker Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist with TD Bank Financial Group, and Katherine Jacobs, director of research and operations with OCS, provided an overview of the construction outlook in Ontario.

Data used to determine the barometer is collected from an Ipsos-Reid survey of 550 non-residential ICI contractors.

The Ontario Construction Secretariat was formed in 1993 as a joint labour/management organization representing 25 unionized construction trades and their contractor partners in Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional construction sector.