Ontario's skilled labour crunch could worsen by 2029, says forecast: Construction group predicts shortfalls in several trades.


Ontario's construction sector will need almost 100,000 new workers over the next decade to keep pace with the rate of retirement in the industry.

A report by BuildForce Canada analyzed the volume of construction spending anticipated in Ontario between now and 2029 and concluded that the industry will need to hire, train and retain thousands across the board in several trades.

Over the decade, an estimated 86,300 workers (21 per cent) of the current labour force are expected to retire.

While the industry should be able to recruit 78,900 new entrants (aged 30 years and younger), the report said that still leaves a projected gap of some 21,800 positions that need to be filled.

BuildForce Canada just released its 2020-2029 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward report for Ontario and all the provinces.

The national organization studies and forecasts long-term trends in the construction industry's la bour market.

The report identified several trades at risk of not keeping pace with retirement levels which could lead to a potential crunch of available journeypersons by 2029; specifically boilermakers, bricklayers, heavy-duty equipment technicians, industrial electricians, and welders.

"The province is expected to experience low construction unemployment, high labour demand, and high numbers of anticipated retirements across the scenario period," said executive director Bill Ferreira in a Feb. 4 news release.

"The industry will need to remain focused on recruitment and training to meet demands for expansion and worker replacement over the coming decade."

Ontario's construction and maintenance sector is running nearly full out, driven by spending in public and private infrastructure projects, and residential building activity.

Construction spending in Northern Ontario is expected to reach a peak in 2021, led by mining, industrial manufacturing projects (nickel, steel and wood) and large-scale transmission infrastructure like the Wataynikaneyap (Watay) Project in northwestern Ontario.

An "uncertain commodity price oudook," the report said, has delayed spending decisions on some major...

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