Winnipeg construction boom causes worker shortage

Boom times for construction in Winnipeg have left a shortage of skilled workers.
Construction workers at the site of the new Bomber stadium, Investors Group Field, earlier this year. (CBC)

A construction boom in Winnipeg has left a shortage of skilled workers in Manitoba.

That has forced the Winnipeg Construction Association to start looking around the world for help.

"Typically, temporary foreign workers would already have the certification from their jurisdiction overseas that can be transferred over," said WCA's Mitch Calvert.

Several big projects are underway in Winnipeg, including the construction of Ikea and Seasons of Tuxedo development, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the new Blue Bombers stadium Investors Group Field.

And many more are in line, including the Plessis Overpass, expansion of the Convention Centre and redevelopment of the old Bombers stadium site.

Calvert says the local industry needs hundreds of skilled workers and local schools can't churn them out fast enough. Even if they could, there is a need for experienced journeymen to apprentice the new workers.

"As new projects come up that number creeps up even further so we definitely need to address it quickly and it's not going to happen through, you know, the school system. It's just not going to be quick enough to get these projects which are already getting underway," he said.

The association has put together a task force to lobby the province to bring in skilled temporary foreign workers.