Depending on your specific job within the construction industry, requirements will vary based on the target occupation. For example, some trades and construction jobs in Canada are regulated in specific provinces while others are not. Currently, there are over 400 skilled trades in Canada. And, in Canada, about 20% of jobs are regulated. Jobs that are regulated ensure the health and safety of all Canadians and require a license or certificate of qualification to practice.
If your trade is regulated in the province or territory where you plan to settle, you may need to get a license from a regulatory body. If you are a construction professional such as an architect, or an engineer, you must also meet professional licensing requirements. Or, you may work in a specific functional area such as Human Resources, Finance, or IT, and would like to make a career switch to the construction industry. In that case, it’s important to explore the licensing requirements of those professions.
Now is a great time to join Canada’s construction industry. And, if you have the right skills and experience, you’ll find great jobs in cities across Canada. Learn more about job requirements, credentials assessment, and free pre-arrival services to help you build your construction career.
How to Improve Your Chances of Working in Canada’s Construction Industry Before You Arrive?
There are steps that you can take before you arrive to improve your chances of working in Canada’s construction industry:
- Learn about the construction industry in the local area where you will land or live in Canada
- Research your target occupation and how you can compete with local talent
- Know where to access free, pre-arrival employment advice and services specific to the construction industry.
When researching Canada’s construction industry, consider these questions to guide you:
- Do Canadian construction employers value my skills, education, and work experience?
- What construction professions are in-demand and are there regional differences?
- Is my education equivalent to Canadian standards? Do I need to get my education assessed?
- Is my profession or skilled trade regulated or unregulated and how does this impact me?
- Will my professional licence (credential) be recognized?
- What wages can I expect to earn in the province or territory that I’m heading to?
1. Understanding Construction Job Requirements in Canada
Before you even arrive in Canada, you need to know the job requirements so that you’ll be in a good position to land a job that matches your skills and experience. It’s also important to know where the jobs are because labour market conditions can vary across the country.
With over 400 skilled trades jobs and other licensed professions, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Pre-arrival services can help you find your way. BCCA-Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN) offers free pre-arrival services to people who would like to join Canada’s construction workforce. They know the construction industry and can help you to:
- Build local connections
- Work with the right credential authorities
- Connect with construction associations and employers in different regions in Canada.
2. Construction Employment in Canada
Construction jobs are essential to the economy, and a leading source of employment growth in Canada. As well, that growth will continue over the next decade.
How is the Construction Industry Doing in Canada?
Canada is facing a labour shortage in the construction industry. This is largely due to the number of construction projects in progress, as well as a shrinking labour force. As Canada’s workforce ages, employers now need to replace employees who are retiring and will look to labour from around the world to meet the demand. And, the industry can offer a diverse and rewarding construction career in Canada.
Immigration will help to meet the increasing labour needs. The construction industry is working to create greater equality and diversity among its workforce by recruiting groups such as women, Indigenous Peoples, and newcomers. Currently, newcomers make up 16% of Canada’s construction workforce.
Demand for construction trades is likely to remain high. According to BuildForce Canada, the industry needs to recruit 309,000 new construction workers over the next decade (2021 – 2030), driven by the expected retirement of 259,100 workers (or 22% of the current workforce).
Many employers accept applications from experienced tradespeople from around the world. But, the outlook for construction jobs varies depending on the province or territory, and the trades or professions that are in demand. Some provinces facing the greatest labour shortages include Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and Alberta.
What Kinds of Construction Jobs are Available in Canada?
The construction industry provides high-paying jobs for tradespeople, licensed professionals, and business function professionals. With any of these backgrounds, you can build a great career in Canada.
|SKILLED TRADES||LICENSED TECHNICAL |
Heavy Equipment Mechanic
How Big is the Construction Industry in Canada?
Whether it’s building new hospitals, schools, skyscrapers, or new homes, there has never been a more exciting time to join Canada’s construction industry! According to the Canadian Construction Association, the industry employs more than 1.4 million people and about 7% of Canada’s workforce. It is one of the leading sources of employment in Canada. The industry has two primary sectors:
i. Residential Construction Sector:
Work in the residential sector includes both new home building and home renovation. Employers in residential construction are usually:
- New home builders and renovation contractors who hire tradespeople on staff.
- Trade contractors that specialize in a specific area such as plumbing contractors or heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) contractors.
There are many opportunities in residential construction across Canada. But some regions are more active than others. So, it’s vital to research job demand at the national, provincial, and local levels. BCCA-IN can help you connect with construction associations and employers across Canada.
ii. Non-residential Construction Sector (institutional, industrial, commercial and engineering):
Within the non-residential construction sector, there is also high demand. For example, there are large, resource-based construction projects underway across the country. The table below outlines examples of projects in several provinces:
|Alberta||British Columbia||New Brunswick||Ontario||Manitoba|
|Wind and gas-fired utilities||Liquified natural gas facilities and natural gas plans||Oil refinery (capital & maintenance)||Nuclear refurbishments, hydro, wind and solar utilities||Hydro development projects|
|Transmission lines||Hydro and wind utilities||Utilities – water treatment and dam replacement||Transmission lines||Transmission line|
Find Out How to Work in Your Trade in Canada
Construction has many regulated trades and professions. BCCA-IN can help you determine if your job is regulated and connect you with the right credential authority to get your career off to a great start.
To meet labour shortages, Canada will rely on tradespeople with experience from other countries. If you have trade experience, you may be to have your work experience or training assessed to receive certification. Each province and territory has its own certification requirements.
Watch the video to learn how BCCA-IN can help you meet the requirements:
With trade experience from another country, you can complete a Trade Equivalency Assessment. This assessment shows your:
- Past training
- Work experience
- Level of education
- Level of language ability
And, based on your previous work experience you may be qualified to write the Certificate of Qualification exam. This exam tests your knowledge, competence, and ability to perform important tasks in your trade.
The Role of Provincial and Territorial Regulatory Bodies:
Skilled trades and other construction professions are regulated by each province and territory (see links in section five) by regulatory bodies. The role of these bodies is to:
- Set the licensing standards and requirements
- Assess workers’ qualifications
- Issue licenses when standards have been met.
While some skilled trades are regulated, not all trades require a license. To find out if your occupation is regulated in Canada, visit the Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials.
Where is the Most Construction Work in Canada?
Generally, available construction jobs in Canada are relative to the size of the population. So you can expect to find more construction jobs where there are more people. For example, Ontario, Canada’s second largest province represents about 37.5% of construction employment in Canada. British Columbia represents 16.7% of construction activity, while Alberta, represents 15% of construction activity. (Source: BuildForce Canada)
Before deciding where you want to settle in Canada, research where there is a high demand for your specific job that will allow you to build your construction career.
Click on the links below to learn about wages, job outlook, and requirements for in-demand construction jobs:
|Job Title||National Job Market Outlook|
Source: Job Bank Canada
|Construction Craft Worker||Job Prospects|
Who Are Canada’s Construction Employers?
While Canada has many large construction companies such as PCL and Aecon, according to the Canadian Construction Association, 70% of the industry is small (fewer than five employees) to medium-sized companies. With a growing industry, starting your construction career with a small company can allow you progression opportunities and higher earning potential as the company grows.
3. Upgrading Your Skills to Meet Construction Job Requirements
You may have strong technical skills, but you may need to upgrade your communication skills. Strong skills in one or both of Canada’s official languages, English or French – are important for your future in Canada. Whether you choose to focus on learning or improving English or French will depend on which of the two languages most people speak in the area where you intend to live.
You may be eligible for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC) program. Otherwise, you can find free or affordable classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) or French as a Second Language (FSL) classes through school boards or settlement agencies.
There are even language courses to teach you professional terminology, such as job-specific language training and Occupation Specific Language Training (OSLT) in Ontario. And, if you already speak one of Canada’s two official languages at a high level, learning the other one is a good option, as it may offer you better job opportunities.
4. Job Search Techniques for Construction Jobs
The Canadian job market is competitive, so you will need to prepare to find a job. It’s important to research available construction jobs in Canada by province and region and develop a plan to find work.
There are many ways to search for jobs including:
- Broadening your search and including alternative careers.
- Seeking a mentor who could give you insight into Canada’s construction industry and introduce you to their network.
- Joining job-finding or networking clubs through immigrant-serving agencies.
- Attending construction job fairs and regularly checking online job boards.
Finding a job in Canada may be different than in your home country and you may need help with your job search. Most settlement agencies offer free services to help you:
- Find job vacancies
- Update your resume
- Write cover letters
- Prepare for interviews, and
- Understand what Canadian employers are looking for.
Find out more about the free services that settlement agencies offer to newcomers here.
An informational interview is a brief (20–30-minute) meeting that you schedule with a person who is currently working in the construction industry.
You should not try to get a job during an informational interview but rather find out more about the industry in Canada. For example, you may want to learn more about trends, and regulatory, or technology changes that are affecting the field.
An informational interview with a contact from your network can be an excellent source of career information. In addition to getting information about the industry, you can benefit from their first-hand experiences working in the field in Canada.
Networking for Construction Jobs
Networking is a vital activity to help you find job leads, gain professional advice, and expand your network. In Canada, many job vacancies are not advertised. Also known as the “hidden” job market, you can discover these jobs through networking with others. So, it’s helpful to connect and build relationships with others in your field who can help you discover these jobs. Good places to network include conferences, associations, and other settings.
LinkedIn is another vital tool for networking. Using LinkedIn, you can connect with former colleagues and employers, search for jobs, and get introductions to others. You can also join some relevant groups to learn more about the construction industry in Canada.
But remember, that you have to allow time to cultivate and grow the ties you establish through networking. Nothing will happen overnight and you need to be patient.
5. Construction Associations in Canada
The following associations provide information about licensing, certification and offer professional development, and networking opportunities.
Key Construction Professions
Key Construction Trades
Most trades are regulated by provincial or territorial agencies. Click on the links for the province/territory where you plan to settle for information about certificates of qualification for specific trades.
|Provincial/Territory Regulatory Agencies|
|Newfoundland and Labrador|
|Prince Edward Island|
For information, tools, free webinars, and more visit our Finding a Job in Canada resource page. Get the help you need to achieve your career goals in Canada!