P.E.I. construction industry shrugs off pandemic

P.E.I.’s construction industry has been continuing to grow, even during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘It’s not just about housing’

With construction workers deemed essential, growth in the sector slowed but continued. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

P.E.I.'s construction industry has been continuing to grow, even during the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Statistics Canada report on building investment shows a dip in this province in April 2020, but not nearly as large as the one that hit the country as a whole, followed by a strong recovery in May.

"We never had a complete shutdown but we did have a little bit of slowdown for a couple of weeks," said Sam Sanderson, general manager of the Construction Association of P.E.I.

A moratorium on permits delayed some projects, but there were no major delays, he said. Still, the industry has a bit of  catching up to do. Some contractors were booking into 2022 even before the pandemic hit.

Industrial projects surge

Overall the province recorded only a small amount of growth during the pandemic months of March to May, up 1.27 per cent over the previous year.

That seemingly flat growth concealed some large swings in the different sectors — down 25 per cent in single dwelling construction and up 115 per cent in industrial.

Sanderson said with all the recent growth in residential construction, other sectors were due for growth.

"It's not just about housing," he said.

"When you have a huge population increase, infrastructure's got to come into play and catch up."

There are more projects coming online, said Sanderson, citing recent announcements of $20 million in infrastructure for the Canada Games, and $10 million rinks in both North Rustico and Tyne Valley.

He sees little sign of any slowdown in the industry in the foreseeable future.

More from CBC P.E.I.


Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. Kevin has a specialty in data journalism, and how statistics relate to the changing lives of Islanders. He has a BSc and a BA from Dalhousie University, and studied journalism at Holland College in Charlottetown. You can reach him at


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