Provincial construction industry could see 24% increase by 2021

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OTTAWA, ON — B.C.’s construction workforce is forecast to increase by 24 percent, or almost 17,000 workers in the next five years, according to the latest labour market forecast released today by BuildForce Canada.

“It’s potentially the most rapid rise we’ve seen in B.C.’s construction workforce in the past decade,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “The pace and magnitude of many of these proposed projects will require the steady recruitment of new workers from the local workforce and from outside construction or outside the province to meet labour demands, especially in remote locations.”

BuildForce Canada’s 2017-2026 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast shows proposed transportation, pipeline, and LNG and mining investments are the primary driver behind B.C.’s construction job growth from now through 2021. Industrial, commercial and institutional building also continues on an upward trend, while new housing is expected to cycle down this year after an extended period of growth.

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BuildForce Canada’s forecast also shows that following peak levels of activity, residential construction employment is expected to decline by about 15 percent in the next five years. However, renovation and maintenance work is expected to exceed new housing by 2022, and will account for almost two-thirds of residential construction employment.

The forecast is also showcasing the need to replace as many as 40,000 baby boomers retiring from construction in the next ten years.

“The retirement of 21 percent of B.C.’s construction workforce compounds the challenge for recruiters,” added Sparks. “Attracting more women and indigenous people to construction could be a big part of the solution in filling that skills gap. Right now they make up just four percent of the province’s skilled construction workforce.”

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