Construction worker shortage warning for P.E.I.

P.E.I. might not have enough construction workers in the coming years, according to a new report.
Construction companies may have to increase wages in the coming years in order have all the workers they need. (CBC)

P.E.I. might not have enough construction workers in the coming years, according to a new report.

The BuildForce Canada investigation found that for the first time more Island construction workers will retire than the number of new workers starting. That means if construction companies want enough staff, they'll have to entice workers back from Alberta and Newfoundland.

Tracey Gormley, executive director of the P.E.I. Residential Construction Sector Council, said that can be a challenge with wages sometimes $15 an hour higher in those boom provinces.

"It's tough, you know. Some companies offer stakeholds and other benefits, maybe there's a vehicle involved, gas cards, just trying to keep ahead all the time to retain your workers," said Gormley.

"The employers may just have to look at it and say if I want these guys to stay here and not go west, or even bring them back, they may have to start taking a look at the wages and saying 'OK, it's time to step it up.'"

Gormley said housing starts and construction have been slow for the last few years, but both are expected to pick up starting in 2015, in part because of the influx of federal infrastructure money.

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