New Brunswick losing tradespeople
March 23, 2018
New Brunswick is facing a skilled construction labour crunch harder and faster than possibly anywhere else in Canada, warned Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada.
“New Brunswick’s construction workforce is retiring at a higher rate than in any other province,” Ferreira said.
“There will likely be recruitment challenges in the fall of this year,” he said. “The scheduled maintenance/shutdown of a major refinery will create a significant short-term spike in demand for workers, especially those with specialized skills.”
The long-term driver for construction was weakened by the cancellation of the Energy East pipeline project. But a proposed mining project, along with higher levels of federal and provincial funding in highways, bridges and other infrastructure, are expected to raise engineering construction employment this year through to 2020.
BuildForce Canada noted that residential employment in New Brunswick would remain almost unchanged this decade. New construction is expected to make up less than 12 percent of total residential construction, while renovation and maintenance work grows steadily.
Up to 28 per cent of the province’s construction workers are expected to retire in the next 10 years.
“Replacing as many as 7,100 retirees will take a real focus on attracting new workers from underrepresented groups, including Indigenous people and women, as well as new immigrants and workers from other industries,” Ferreira said.