If you’re looking for construction jobs in Canada, you can be assured the sector is a huge contributor to the strength of the nation’s economy. Construction across mining, oil and gas, ICI (institutional, commercial and industrial) buildings, infrastructure, and residential sectors provides employment to over 1.3 million people in Canada, and accounts for 7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
Canada’s aging population and steady economic growth creates strong demand for construction professionals and tradespeople, with the demand for skilled labour consistently outstripping supply. With only 36 million people living across the world’s second-largest country, Canada continues to depend on international workers to support its construction sector.
What are the most in-demand construction jobs in Canada?
- Project Directors – ICI (Institutional, Commercal and Industrial) Buildings & Infrastructure
- Senior Project Managers – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Senior Superintendents – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Senior Estimators – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Design Managers – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Schedulers –Infrastructure
To learn more about typical job titles for construction jobs in Canada, visit this detailed blog from Outpost Recruitment, our sister company which focuses on construction recruitment.
Let’s take a look quick look at employment trends in construction across Canada to help you build your knowledge and decide on the right location within Canada.
2009-2014: Industrial boom drives demand for international workers across all construction sectors
Canada is a sparsely populated land mass that boasts huge deposits of natural resources. Like Australia, the economy of both countries tend to correlate closely to prices of natural resources with booms and bust patterns in short cycles. Canada is a leading producer of oil, natural gas, copper, gold, silver, zinc, iron, potash, uranium, and molybdenum, among other commodities. The oil sands region in Northern Alberta alone accounts for one third of the world’s oil reserves, but resource deposits can be found across all of Canada’s provinces and territories.
High commodity prices from 2009 to 2014 led to significant investment in both mining and oil and gas projects across Canada. Resource-extraction is labour intensive, so this led to economic booms in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) with workers flocking from all over Canada and from around the world. These provinces experienced population increases during this period, which boosted the local economies of cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Regina, and Saskatoon. With cities and towns growing across the Prairies, each municipality needed new infrastructure and workers to support the growing population, so the shortage of skilled workers affected many industries, and not just natural resources. In this period, Calgary and Edmonton were competing with Toronto and Vancouver for international workers, as these locations offered more opportunity for economic immigrants and a lower cost of living.
With local and international workers relocating to be part of the booming industrial sector, this in turn created shortages across other areas of construction jobs in Canada. The resource boom attracted foreign workers as economic migrants arrived in search of opportunity. Fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers arrived to Fort McMurray from all over the world to be part of the oil sands boom. Employers in Vancouver and Toronto were losing some of their workforce to the industrial sector and needed international workers to fill the gaps, so the labour shortage intensified. This demand was evidenced by Canadian companies organizing international recruitment drives during these years as skills shortages occurred across all construction. The local supply of labour was insufficient to meet demand, so employers were able to gain permission to sponsor foreign workers to meet their labour needs. High oil prices caused a surge in construction of oil and gas plants. Local Canadian workers were flocking to higher paid roles in the resource sector and this created demand for international workers to fill their places all over Canada.
2015 onwards: Infrastructure boom
Lower commodity prices since 2014 have meant cooling labour markets in the Prairies provinces, with declining investment in resource projects and economic stagnation in the Prairie provinces. Since the slowdown of the industrial sector, Canada has invested heavily in infrastructure programs across the country, and this has helped absorb many workers coming from the resource sector. Since 2014, demand for international workers has decreased as Canada’s focus has been on absorbing local Canadian workers into other sectors. This has meant employer sponsorship is less common than previously, but international workers who obtain temporary work permits or permanent residency continue to find opportunities in Canada.
The net impact of these changes is that international workers are now focusing more on the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, now represent more stable destinations for international workers as the economies of both cities are bouyed by tourism, film, and IT, with strong foreign investment making them less dependent on resource prices. Both locations have strong residential, institutional, and commercial construction sectors, with plenty of infrastructure activity as populations continue to grow.
Our sister company, Outpost Recruitment, has been connecting the best international construction professionals with Canadian employers across civil, infrastructure and ICI buildings projects for over five years.
If you would like to explore opportunities to work in Canada’s construction sector, visit Outpost Recruitment to register and research open job opportunities.