Thunder Bay

Construction industry expected to see gap in workers as labour demand increases in the region

A new report by BuildForce Canada forecasts a gap in Northern Ontario’s construction industry as the demand for labour increases and the number of available workers begin to dwindle.
The construction industry in northern Ontario will be looking to hire over a thousand workers in the coming years as the demand for labour increases. (Jody Porter/CBC)

A new report by BuildForce Canada paints a troubling picture for the future of northern Ontario's construction industry as the demand for labour increases and the number of available workers begin to decline. 

According to the industry-led organization, the region will see a gap of about 1,300 construction workers, as just under 6,000 workers are set to retire by 2029.

"We anticipate that only about 4,600 new entrants, those typically are individuals under the age of 30, will be coming into the industry, which creates a significant gap," says Bill Ferreira executive director of BuildForce Canada in an interview with CBC.

Ferreira said the other challenge the region faces is the draw for other construction needs throughout the province.

"It's difficult to keep individuals in the region because there's a constant draw and pull from, whether it's eastern Ontario, the greater Toronto area, or southwestern Ontario right now," he said. 

For the rest of the province, BuildForce is forecasting that the construction industry will need to attract 100,000 workers over the next ten years to meet the needs of the industry.

According to Ferreira the demand for labour comes from a widespread number of active projects across the province. 

"There's upwards of $130 billion that are currently being tracked and frankly that is what is leading to the low unemployment rate in the construction industry," he said. "It's just really high demand."

Ontario needs to recruit 100,000 construction workers. How's that for a headline? And what's the situation like here in the north? Bill Ferreira is executive director of BuildForce Canada, an industry-led organization that represents all sectors of the construction industry. They have just released their outlook for Ontario. 9:04