The careers of the future are already here. Major new construction projects are popping up right across Canada, with hot spots in every province. We’re talking big projects, like liquefied natural gas (LNG) and mine developments, hydro stations and power plants, bridges and highways, pipelines, transmission lines and even wind farms. Coupled with all of the coming retirements, employers will be looking for a lot of new, qualified tradespeople to be able to complete these big projects – projects that often require 1000s of workers.
Big resource projects
With Canada’s abundance of natural resources – we’ve got the world’s third largest oil reserves, tonnes of minerals and metals, and huge hydroelectric capacity – projects in these areas will be plentiful over the foreseeable future.
- Do you enjoy the great outdoors – away from the rat race and craziness of big-city life?
- Have you ever thought about how cool it would be to operate some of the world's largest heavy machinery, like those used in the Alberta oil sands?
- Are you an eco-warrior, all gung-ho about installing those strangely beautiful giant turbines you see peppered about on wind farms?
- Or perhaps you're more interested in exploration and discovery, like developing the mines of northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region – named after the song by Johnny Cash (true!) and possibly one of the largest potential mineral reserves in Ontario.
Click on the map below to see where the projects – and jobs – are in your province or territory.
– Stephen Hull, Electrical Foreman
Canada’s ailing infrastructure needs rehab
Canada’s infrastructure is important – for a healthy economy and for the quality of our everyday lives. It includes roads, highways and bridges, ports of entry, water and electrical systems, and even things like public parks, hospitals and libraries.
But a large portion of our infrastructure needs replacing or refurbishment. Much of it was constructed in the boom following the Second World War! Check out the news and you’ll see headlines for infrastructure projects happening in cities and towns right across the country. According to the 2019 Canadian Infrastructure Report Card, "nearly 40% of roads and bridges are in fair, poor or very poor condition, with roughly 80% being more than 20 years old."
The federal government has responded to this crisis with the New Building Canada Fund – the largest long-term infrastructure plan in Canadian history. This fund, which commits $14 billion over the next 10 years, is part of the larger New Building Canada Plan that will invest more than $53 billion in infrastructure across Canada between 2014 and 2024.
Do you see the job opportunity here?! A September 2021 RBC report forecasts that with the coming infrastructure boom, there will be severe shortages of industrial mechanics, welders and boilermakers.
See what this means for your province or territory – check out Infrastructure Canada’s website.
The useful life of an expressway is only 15-18 years versus 40-50 years for a rural road.
The more you build, the more you have to maintain
One thing most people don’t think about is the maintenance of everything that’s already been built. The more you build, the more you have to maintain. And the tradespeople who work on new construction projects are the same tradespeople doing the maintenance, so both new construction and maintenance are drawing on the same group of tradespeople. And with all the retirements looming – see the section below – there will be fewer and fewer skilled tradespeople available to fill these positions. What this all means is more opportunity for people who pursue careers in the skilled trades!
Construction to keep up with everyday life
And let’s not forget that people will always need places to live and play, to learn and keep healthy, and to shop. As the population grows and people move from one place to another, their needs must be met with new constructions such as homes, condos, schools, hospitals, libraries, entertainment centres, parks, sporting facilities and shopping malls.
There is always and will always be a need for construction and skilled tradespeople.
Skilled trades are considered an “evergreen profession.” That means they will always be needed.
Lots of retirements = Opportunity for you!
It's no secret – the construction workforce is aging and Canada is already experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople.
The baby boomers are starting to retire. In the construction industry alone, we’re talking around 245,100 of them retiring over the next 10 years.
And right now, way fewer people are entering construction than those who are retiring. Over the next 10 years, only about 237,800 new tradespeople are expected to enter the workforce versus the 245,100 who are expected to retire. And this situation will worsen as the workforce grows older.
So companies are eagerly looking for more new talent – just like you!
Click on the map below to see how the numbers stack up for your province or territory.
More than one quarter of the construction workforce is expected to retire between now and 2029.
Explore the trades that fit your personality and lifestyle in the Career Finder.
Check out the Career Paths available to you in the construction industry.