Demand for GTA construction skills to double in 15 years: Toronto Region Board of Trade

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STAFF WRITER The GTA Construction Report

The Toronto Region Board of Trade estimates that the GTA will need to double the number of construction workers to accommodate new infrastructure projects and an aging workforce.

In its report released in October, the Board of Trade says the GTA will see an increase of about 147,000 full and part-time construction jobs to work on transit, roads, shopping centres, schools, housing and hospitals. There are currently about 175,000 construction related jobs in the region.

The report says in the next 15 years, approximately 118,000 workers will be required for $214 billion of planned construction. As well, there will be a need to replace about 29,000 workers expected to retire.

“Truly, this is a generation of jobs,” said board president and CEO Janet De Silva.

“While job creation will flow broadly across the economy, it will create a huge demand for skilled and professional workers in the construction industry in particular,” the report says.

In the more immediate future, the Board of Trade estimates that the GTA will need about 9,000 new workers per year. The number will increase to 11,000 new workers annually by 2028.

“To build tomorrow’s infrastructure, we must build a pipeline of talent today,” said De Silva.

“The business community knows that if we don’t pay attention to this issue, we run a real risk of not delivering our planned infrastructure on time and on budget,” she noted.

The board says employers, educational organizations and policy makers should set up a task force to “connect the dots” to attract enough talent to handle the workload.

There will be requirements for bricklayers, heavy equipment operators, truck drivers, roofers, civil engineers, gas fitters, and other fields, along with labourers, and related fields including administration, sales and finance.

Most of the careers won’t require a university education, but still 62 per cent of the top 50 construction related occupations will need some form of apprenticeship, certificate or diploma.

It is “important to inform students and workers alike of the skills and education these occupations require,” says the “Building Infrastructure, Building Talent” document, available at the board’s website or https://goo.gl/HSX8fy.

Jobs needed from 2017-2031

• Labourers – 16,964

• Electricians – 9,818

• Plasterers and drywall installers – 4,185

• Bricklayers – 2,729

• Financial auditors and accountants – 1,175

• Crane operators – 601

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