By Journal of Commerce |

A new forecast by BuildForce Canada predicts high construction volume and a surge in demand for workers will make finding new sources of labour crucial for B.C.’s construction industry.

BuildForce Canada’s 2020–2029 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward shows that the industry is already facing high work volume. Significant non-residential projects and unprecedented levels of housing starts combined to push construction activity in B.C. to record levels in 2019.

The high levels of work are putting pressure on already strained labour demand. And according to BuildForce, the industry will need to source 11,700 additional workers by 2021.

The report’s analysis of tracked projects shows that construction demands will remain exceptionally high for the next couple of years and peak in the latter half of 2021. However, even as demand moderates somewhat over the scenario period, BuildForce forecasts that demand levels will remain well above 2019 levels.

BuildForce’s analysis stressed that when coupled with the anticipated retirement of baby boomers from the labour force, the industry will face a difficult battle to pace with recruitment, training, and its labour force development needs during the coming decade.

The report states that the province’s construction and maintenance industry will be dominated mostly by non-residential projects, while the residential sector will also remain strong, as mild declines in new housing construction will be offset by growing renovation and maintenance demands.

“Unemployment in the B.C. construction industry remains at historically low levels, below 4 per cent,” said Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “While the industry will need to focus on long-term recruitment and skills development strategies, worker mobility will be critical to meeting the province’s anticipated construction needs, particularly over the short term.”

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