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Construction Job Growth Forecast Across Most Regions of Ontario

February 19, 2014

Large Resource and Infrastructure Projects Drive Regional Growth

Ontario – Major projects will drive construction job growth in Ontario and turn up the pressure to replace as much as 25 percent of the province’s skilled workforce retiring over the next decade, according to BuildForce Canada.

The 2014–2023 Construction and Maintenance Looking Forward forecast released today by BuildForce Canada shows some of Canada’s largest infrastructure projects will drive growth in construction employment over the next 10 years. Forecast highlights include the following:

  • A series of large resource and infrastructure projects create waves of employment in engineering construction, with increased demand in Northern Ontario over the near term to 2017 and steady growth in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to 2019.
  • Commercial activity also rises in all regions, adding jobs.
  • Industrial work recovers, slowly restoring employment levels. Growth in industrial and commercial sectors is strongest in the GTA.
  • Institutional and road, highway and bridge work decline over the near term, but rise modestly over the medium term.
  • Housing construction recovers from a 2013 low point, with recovery reaching new peaks between 2015 and 2017 in the GTA, and Northern and Central Ontario, creating the potential for temporary, cyclical labour shortages.
  • Retirements result in the need to replace as many as 83,000 skilled workers over the next decade.

“Rising retirements, and major projects are two forces driving the industry,” said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada. “Industry will need to step up recruitment efforts to attract workers from other provinces, more youth, women, Aboriginal people and new immigrants to construction.”

BuildForce Canada’s forecast, by region:

Northern Ontario

  • The workforce changes dramatically over the next decade, with mining and infrastructure projects, including the Ring of Fire, the Energy East pipeline project and ongoing hydroelectric and transmission work, bringing in a wave of new, often non-resident workers. The non-residential workforce increases by 40 percent between 2012 and 2017.
  • Housing and commercial building also increases in response, with project demand exceeding the local workforce.
  • Retirements will be higher in this region, given its older workforce. Recruitment efforts may focus on youth and the Aboriginal community.

Southwest Ontario

  • Recovery is anticipated in this region this year. Major project activity and a revival in housing help to fuel more jobs and the arrival of construction trades between now and 2017.
  • Increased non-residential construction, including highway, bridge and utility work in 2014, peaks employment in 2017, creating potential recruiting challenges for some trades.


  • There will be consistent recruiting challenges in this region. Non-residential building is expected to grow steadily, with the GTA planning some of the largest infrastructure projects in Canada. Key projects, including the “Big Move” and the refurbishment of a nuclear facility, are planned to start, with activity peaking in 2019. This leaves the GTA with rising labour requirements.
  • After reaching a low point in 2013, residential employment starts a stronger rising trend, peaking in 2019 and then staying at levels close to 2012.

Central Ontario

  • There will be steady growth in most sectors, with a sharp improvement in residential construction in 2015. This increases demand for selected trades and occupations.
  • Non-residential construction is on a moderate upward trend, with steady growth in industrial, commercial and institutional construction. Engineering construction follows a mild cycle as major projects start up and then wind down.

Eastern Ontario

  • Construction employment remains relatively unchanged over the next decade. Institutional, road, bridge and other government spending will slow.
  • Slower growth translates into a moderate decline in residential employment.
BuildForce Canada is a national industry-led organization committed to providing accurate and timely labour market data and analysis to assist in meeting workforce requirements and advancing the needs of Canada’s construction industry. BuildForce consults with industry stakeholders, including owners, contractors, labour groups and government to compile and validate its labour market information. Visit:

For further information contact:

Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director, BuildForce Canada



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