Construction hiring: If we build it, there will be work

April 03, 2012

Dana Flavelle


Construction hiring is expected to grow to 120,000 workers over the next nine years as major projects from new mines to Pan Am games construction emerge and older workers get set to retire.

Steve Russell/Toronto Star


Need a job? Grab a hard hat.

Ontario’s construction industry will need to recruit an additional 120,000 workers over the next nine years, the Construction Sector Council predicts

The demand will be driven by mining projects in northwestern Ontario, as well as nuclear power and transportation projects in the Greater Toronto Area and the Pan Am Games, the non-profit industry organization said in its annual forecast.

Employers will be challenged to meet the increased demand as aging baby boomers retire, the council also said in its report called Construction Looking Forward, 2012 to 2020.

Immediate job growth will be strongest in the Sudbury area and northeastern Ontario where several mining projects are underway or scheduled to start in the next few years. Further down the road, the “Ring of Fire” group of mining projects in northwestern Ontario will spark demand.

In the GTA, electrical utility investments in nuclear facilities will have a major impact on the demand for key trades and occupations as work ramps up after 2014. These requirements combine with institutional projects, such as construction for the Pan American Games, transportation and other infrastructure projects, to create employment opportunities across the outlook scenario.

These and other residential projects are expected to boost demand for construction workers by 43,000 while another 77,000 will be needed to replace current workers as they retire, the council predicts.

“Providing enough skilled workers is a high priority at a time when an aging construction workforce and resulting retirements will potentially reduce our labour availability,” says Pat Dillon, Business Manager of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

“Industry must maintain the necessary support systems to recruit, train and retain construction workers across the scenario. This support is essential to meet the challenges to replace skilled workers as they retire,” he adds.

“Our challenge will be to monitor current and proposed projects to ensure we can match the local labour force to emerging demand requirements,” says David Brisbin, Executive Director of the Construction Employers Coordinating Council of Ontario.

Each year, the CSC releases nine-year labour forecasts following consultations with industry leaders, including owners, contractors and labour groups, as well as governments and educational institutions.

The national and regional reports will be available online at in March/April. Forecast data is also available at

The Construction Sector Council is a national industry-led organization committed to the development of a highly skilled workforce that will support the future needs of Canada’s construction industry. It is funded by the Government of Canada’s Sector Council Program.