Canadian Consulting Engineer

Leaders call for policy changes to rebuild Canada’s construction workforce

November 14, 2022
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Modernized immigration systems and updates to the Temporary Foreign Worker program are needed now to address Canada’s construction labour shortage, the Canadian Construction Association says.

Representatives from the Canadian construction sector are calling on the federal government to make changes to modernize Canada’s immigration policy and update the Temporary Foreign Worker program ahead of the Canadian Construction Association’s annual “Hill Day” on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

In order to address what it calls “the most severe labour shortage Canada has faced in more than 50 years,” the CCA noted that, while the federal government has an ambitious growth plan – one that includes repairing, maintaining and retrofitting aging infrastructure while also building for future climate resilience – “even the best laid plans can be derailed without the workers we need to keep us on track.”

The construction industry is currently struggling to fill over 81,000 jobs nationwide, CCA says, which means that essential projects – schools, hospitals, power generation, roads, bridges and trade corridors that connect our communities not only to each other, but also to the global marketplace – may be delayed or cancelled.

“The recent announcement that Canada would seek to welcome up to 500,000 new immigrants annually by 2025 is a good start, but skills matching is essential,” CCA said.

According to CCA, urgent action from the federal government must include:

  • Modernizing Canada’s immigration policy and point system to better recognize those with relevant skills and construction labourers.
  • Working with the provinces to ensure skills matching is properly funded and supported.
  • Updating the Temporary Foreign Worker program to allow seamless access for the construction industry.

“To build our better tomorrow, we need the builders. Skilled people cannot be created overnight, and we need them now,” said CCA president Mary Van Buren.It’s vital that we turn to immigration and temporary foreign labour to help alleviate the choke points created by the workforce shortage.”


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