Experts are warning that the looming skilled trade worker shortage will have far-ranging effects on Canada’s economy in the coming years.
Over the next decade, due to worker retirement and not enough young people entering the trades, Canada is expected to be short upwards of 800,000 skilled trades workers. Though this shortage has been a priority for policy-makers for years now, last week’s event at the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence provided analysts and employers with a new platform to voice their own concerns.
The one-day Ottawa event was attended by over 400 potential employees and employers in the construction sector, who warned that worker shortages will be felt across the board from higher housing prices to slow infrastructure developments.
“It used to take five months from the time of sale until the house was built,” said Cardel Homes’ Ottawa president Greg Graham who spoke at a panel. “Now it’s six or eight months. House prices have gone up, too, because there’s a shortage of trades so they demand higher pay.”
The government has recently introduced a new skilled trades worker stream of immigration in hopes of addressing these issues. However, employers are skeptical that with a quota of only 3,000 new arrivals per year, that this will not be enough of a solution and certain trades, like welding, will have little impact on the residential construction sector.
Source: Ottawa Citizen