BuildForce Canada is recognizing the contributions of tradespeople across the generations today, by celebrating National Tradesmen Day.
"Today is a great opportunity to show our appreciation for those who've made construction their life's work, and to welcome a new generation," said Rosemary Sparks, Executive Director of BuildForce Canada.
"There's tremendous opportunity for a whole new generation of skilled young people. Our goal is to make sure they're aware of all the advantages of working in construction, so it becomes their first career choice."
National Tradesmen Day, which is being celebrated on Sept. 19, is a day set aside to honor the skilled tradesmen in the country. It was created in 2011 by Irwin Tools, a subsidiary of Newell Rubbermaid, to honour all tradespeople, including plumbers, roofers, carpenters, drywall installers, electricians, HVAC technicians, and welders.
BuildForce Canada's annual forecast said the construction industry needs to recruit almost 300,000 new workers to meet expansion and replace retirees between 2014 and 2023.
The industry is estimated to attract 167,000 first-time entrants to the workforce. However, this effort depends on strong appeals to youth and continuing investments in the programs that attract women and Aboriginal people.
"I've always been hands on and didn't want to be sitting in an office," said Calli Doucette, who is 23 years old and a third‐year electrical apprentice from a small town in Niagara Region. "This field was a natural fit. It gives me the satisfaction of playing a role in building something, plus the opportunity for growth, whether it is in safety or management."
At the same time, retiring workers will take specialized skills and experience with them as they leave.
"My advice to the next generation is that if you work hard, you can make a great life and living in the skilled trades," said John Tomes, a 68‐year‐old Superintendent of Manpower with McCain Electric Ltd. in Winnipeg. "It's a good feeling to be able to pass along some of what I've learned and experienced."
Over the next decade, Canada's construction workforce will change dramatically, with up to one‐quarter of its skilled baby boomers retiring.
Mobility is key to meeting industry needs over the next five years, with specialized skills and experience in short supply in some regions. The demand for skilled labour will differ across each province and trade.
According to BuildForce Canada's annual forecast there are three distinct labour cycles in the country across the following regions and sectors:
•Resource projects in, Newfoundland and Labrador and Northern Ontario drive a surge in labour needs to 2014 or 2015. Oil sands developments, sustaining capital and maintenance work in Alberta, rise to new peak demands by 2019. Major new resource and infrastructure projects in Northern B.C. drive construction employment to an all-time high in 2017.
•New mining and infrastructure projects, including transit expansion, and refurbishment of nuclear power facilities in Ontario, will drive job growth over the next decade.
•While expansion slows in Saskatchewan, labour demands stay well above historical levels.
This fall, BuildForce Canada is launching its redesigned Careers in Construction website at www.careersinconstruction.ca to provide more youth-friendly information about more than 50 different construction trades and occupations.
BuildForce is a national industry-led organization that represents all sectors of Canada's construction industry.
Its mandate is to provide accurate and timely labour market data and analysis, as well as programs and
Initiatives to help manage workforce requirements and build the capacity and the capability of Canada's construction and maintenance workforce.