Construction workers needed — urgently
Wanted: 277,000 construction workers by 2027.
According to BuildForce Canada, which monitors trends in the construction sector and provides labour market intelligence to industry, as many as 277,000 new construction workers will be needed this decade alone to meet labour requirements and counter rising retirement rates.
BuildForce recommends stepping up recruitment efforts aimed at new Canadians, women and Indigenous workers to help manage the shortage.
“Labour Day and the start of September is a perfect time for young people to start thinking about career options,” said Brynn Bourke, interim executive director of the BC Building Trades. “A career in the skilled trades is wellpaid and in demand.”
And all trades are not the same. From electrician to carpenter, to plumber to insulator, to heavy equipment operator, there are options for every interest and aptitude. The skilled trades shortage also means there will be no shortage of work in the coming years.
In fact, current projects being built under the province’s Community Benefits Agreement construction framework mean jobs and training are prioritized for apprentices, women in the trades, Indigenous workers, and local residents. These projects include the widening of Highway 1, the Pattullo Bridge Replacement, the Broadway SkyTrain and — on the Island — the new Cowichan District Hospital Replacement. The aim is to have 25 per cent apprentices on these projects, which will help create a steady workforce for the future.
“That means a significant number of workers who are new to the trades will have an opportunity to build their province, and the skills they learn will help secure their future in the industry long after the ribbon has been cut marking the completion of each project,” said Bourke.