Come here, we need builders

Overseas Property | 2 Jul 2021

It's looking good for Canada's construction industry, says a report by BuildForce Canada. Hundreds of thousands of jobs in the industry are expected to open up in the next decade. "Canada's construction outlook is strong for 2021," says Bill Ferreira, Buildforce's executive director.

"And while we forecast growth to slow, we nonetheless expect that the industry will be challenged to recruit more than 309,000 new workers to replace retirees and keep pace with demand."

Immigrants are a hot pick to fill these vacancies, but that is easier said than done. In building trades, immigrants comprise only about 18 percent of workers in the construction industry despite making up 23 percent of Canada's labor market. The report states: "The industry may be short as many as 81,000 workers by 2030."

Contractors are already having to turn down work because of a lack of skilled workers - a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Jonathan Denton, owner of Little John's Renovations, said: "We work our whole lives to be at this point, and now we have got to say no." They are forced to turn away around 20 percent of the work requested of them.

A project manager with ACE Plumbing and Heating, Jordana Lloyd, said: "Right now, anyone with actual experience is so, so helpful to our business. When it's busy like this, anyone with any skills is so valued."

Meanwhile, the Canadian government is looking to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents this year. The government has already indicated through its immigration policies that workers in the construction industry - among other groups - are more than welcome to settle in Canada.

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