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New immigrants needed to fill Canada’s skilled construction worker shortage

If you are new to Canada and are looking for a job in the construction industry, you will be pleased to know that Canada offers a wealth of opportunities waiting for you.

The Canadian construction sector is currently facing a dry spell and the demand for highly skilled construction workers is high and on the increase.

Construction firms are looking to hire new immigrants to fill their work shortages. Specifically, the industry is “looking for permanent immigrant employees as the workforce retires,” says Michael Atkinson, president of the Canadian Construction Association.

Barbara Bunting, manager of talent acquisition strategies at PCL Constructors Inc., the largest contracting organization in Canada, also recognizes the huge shortage of skilled construction workers and notes the potential talent pool new immigrants can bring to the Canadian workforce. She says, “We want people to look at it as a career position and they are going to put roots down in Canada.”

Construction is a $168 billion industry that accounts for 13 per cent of Canada’s economy. There are more than 265,000 firms in the construction industry. And from this figure, 150,000 are private trades contractors with an additional 68,000 operating in residential construction.

The British Columbia Construction Association Integrating Newcomers (BCCA-IN)program provides newcomers with the opportunity to get pre-arrival training that will help them to find work in Canada and connect them directly with employers.  Also, the team at BCCA-IN will work hard to ensure that you are on the right path to getting the career that you want.

Economists for the Construction Sector Council predict there will be 111,000 new construction jobs created by 2019. The president of the national construction association estimates that 208,000 construction workers will retire creating an “unprecedented” demand on the labour workforce.  Half of the new workers are expected to be filled by new immigrants to Canada.

Current projects in particular need of new immigrants include resource-based projects in British Columbia, shipyard construction in Nova Scotia, mining and offshore developments in Newfoundland, potash production in Saskatchewan and utilities infrastructure investments in Ontario. In addition, working as a skilled construction worker, you could be helping to build new homes, offices, roads or factories.

Four areas of construction

The construction industry in Canada is divided into four main areas:

With new home building and renovation, you can have a rewarding career building and renovating houses and apartment buildings.

Heavy industrial construction gives you the opportunity to work outdoors operating large machines and working on big construction projects such as working on an oil rig. Often, these kinds of projects take years to complete offering numerous opportunities to advance to supervisory or management positions.

With institutional and commercial construction, you will have the chance to work on commercial and institutional buildings and structures such as stadiums, schools, hospitals and swimming pools.

With civil engineering construction, you will be working on engineering projects such as dams, highways, water lines and bridges. These projects offer you the opportunity to work on new construction or maintenance with chances of progressing to supervisory or management positions.


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