Canadian Consulting Engineer

Divorce, injury and stress – the wages of life in the construction industry

November 12, 2013
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Quote, from a letter in Maclean's magazine, September 30, in response to a feature on Canada's skilled labour shortages.

Quote, from a letter in Maclean’s magazine, September 30, in response to a feature on Canada’s skilled labour shortages.

“I’ve worked in the construction industry for over 25 years, and here is the reality: a higher divorce rate among workers who have to travel long distances, sometimes for months at a time, to find work; very few workers making it to retirement age without lifelong debilitating injuries to the back, knees, or hands; an unnecessarily high death rate on the job; a constant push to meet unattainable deadlines, resulting in a high degree of mental stress. The truth is that the construction industry desires many more workers in order to put downward pressure on the prevailing wage rates. Very few workers are able to obtain steady work for an entire year, resulting in repeated periods of collecting Employment Insurance benefits to tide them over. Needless to say, I will not be recommending a career in the construction trades for my own son.”

– Terry Clarke, Hamilton


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