Canada’s construction industry urging all governments to Rebuild Canada’s workforce NOW

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Meetings planned with MPs on Parliament Hill Nov. 15

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) is sounding the alarm about the urgent need for workers in construction, with an industry call to action to Rebuild Canada’s Workforce NOW.

Industry representatives are meeting with parliamentarians for CCA’s Hill Day on Nov. 15 to urge the federal government to:

  • modernize Canada’s immigration policy and point system to better recognize tradespeople and construction labourers.
  • work with the provinces to ensure skills matching is properly funded and supported; and
  • update the Temporary Foreign Worker program to allow seamless access for the construction industry.

“Canada is facing its most severe labour shortage in over 50 years – nearly 1 million jobs are unfilled,” says Mary Van Buren, CCA president. “The situation is especially acute for the construction sector – we have over 81,000 openings now. This also means the essential infrastructure projects that 38 million Canadians rely on every day risk being cancelled or delayed.”

More people are leaving the job market than entering the industry, creating the tightest job market Canada has seen in generations and it’s pinching the construction sector. Nearly 1 million jobs are unfilled. Despite significant investment by the industry to attract and retain Canadian workers, over 81,000 positions remain open – an all-time high, the Rebuild Canada’s Workforce NOW report states.

“The construction sector is essential to creating and maintaining the essential infrastructure Canadians rely on every day – from schools we send our kids to; the hospitals that care for us; and the roads, bridges and trade corridors that connect our communities not only to each other, but also to the global marketplace,” the report concludes.

The federal government’s growth plan includes repairing, maintaining and retrofitting aging infrastructure while also building for future climate resilience. Retirements and recruitment challenges will be a heavy blow to Canada’ future economic growth if steps aren’t taken to Rebuild Canada’s workforce NOW, Van Buren warns.

“As job vacancy rates grow and competition for talent becomes more fierce, the federal government needs to expand the temporary foreign workers program and facilitate the entry of immigrants interested in working in the construction sector.

“Skilled tradespeople cannot be created overnight. It is vital that we turn to immigration and temporary foreign labour to help alleviate the choke points created by the workforce shortage.”

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