Canadian Manufacturing

TD report downplaying skills shortage ‘shortsighted’, group says

BuildForce Canada said report "may be masking real and serious skilled labour challenges"

OTTAWA—An industry-led organization is calling out TD Economics for a report the financial firm issued last week claiming Canada’s labour and skills shortages are nothing more than myths.

The report “may be masking real and serious skilled labour challenges faced by Canada’s construction industry,” according to BuildForce Canada, an organization that provides labour market data and analysis for the country’s construction industry.

“The reality is that there are, and will be, acute skilled trade challenges within the construction industry in parts of Canada that simply cannot be ignored,” BuildForce Canada executive director Rosemary Sparks said in a statement.

“While we support the TD Economics report recommendation that Canada cannot take a wait and see approach, this report does not address specific challenges revealed by a more detailed analysis of sector specific labour markets.”

According to BuildForce, Canada’s resource construction sector will continue to put “significant pressure on an already tight labour market” in Canada west, as well as northern Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador over the next decade.

Challenges created by an aging workforce and skilled trades shortages in those provinces, are, in fact, real, the organization said.

“Our forecasts indicate a shortfall of skilled construction tradespeople over the next decade, as new projects move forward and over 200,000 workers, or close to 25 per cent of the construction workforce retire,” Sparks said.

“This is the time to be aggressive in planning for the future and promoting careers in skilled trades. Industry requires short-term and long-term strategies to ensure a skilled workforce is available to meet demand. Our economy also depends on it.”

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