The British Columbia (B.C.) Construction Association’s says that 50 per cent more workers in the industry are needed to fill the shortage. This represents an additional 60,000 people than are currently employed in the sector.
We don’t have enough of the skilled trades necessary just to carry out the functional construction tasks,” says economics professor at Simon Fraser University, Lindsay Meredith. “I’d poach everything that was breathing,” She added. The CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) has also warned that a major provincial construction boom and the 2010 Summer Olympics is leading to a serious shortage of qualified construction workers in Canada’s most western province.
Vancouver- Whistler was awarded The 2010 Summer Olympic Games at a time when “we are not drawing on a big pool of unemployed people,” explains Maurice Levi, professor of international finance at the University of British Columbia (UBC). The labour shortage is expected to continue well after the Olympics, according to the B.C. Construction Association. “We’re very conscious of a shortage right now of […] skilled workers,” explains Manley McLachlan, vice-president of the B.C. Construction Association.
In response to the growing demand for qualified construction trades people, B.C. is now actively looking outside of its borders. “I know contractors that have been to Europe; they’ve conducted job fairs in England, France, Belgium, and other parts of Europe,” says McLachlan. Skilled labour shortages mean that commodity prices will also rise as a result.
The Canadian government has extended a helping hand to ease the labour shortage B.C is currently facing by facilitating work permits for potential immigrants. A new program is now in place that allows employers to identify a qualified skilled worker for “fast-tracked” immigration processing.