Alberta's Construction Sector Must Plan Now



    30,000 skilled trades' workers will be needed in the economic upturn

    EDMONTON, June 22 /CNW/ - Representatives from labour and industry are
taking part in Alberta's Construction Labour Market Symposium today to ensure
that Alberta has the skilled labour force in place when the economy turns
around.
    "It's crucial that we plan now for the economic upturn," said George
Gritziotis, Executive Director of the Construction Sector Council. "When big
energy projects gear back up we have to make sure our skilled workforce is
ready."
    Highlight's of the Construction Sector Council's annual report
"Construction Looking Forward" for Alberta show construction employment in the
province is on the decline after more than a decade of extraordinary growth.
    Although a number of major manufacturing projects are planned or
underway, including three ethanol production plants, employment losses will
continue into 2011. These losses will shift from residential trades to the
skilled non-residential workforce after the cancellation or postponement of
several proposed oil industry projects.
    When Alberta starts to come out of the recession in 2010, big energy
projects are expected to come back on stream in 2013.
    "Transportation and related projects will also pick up in the medium
term," said Ken Gibson, Executive Director of the Alberta Construction
Association. "It means we have some breathing room now to plan for better
times."
    Government investment is expected to increase rapidly in 2009 and 2010 as
the fiscal stimulus package is spent on various public infrastructure projects
from water, sewer and roads to hospitals and schools.
    "Our challenge is to make sure that experienced trades' people who left
the industry and province in the downturn come back," said Jay Westman,
President and CEO of Jayman MasterBUILT. "We know that when the recession ends
we'll need these skilled trades' workers."
    The forecast shows that employment in residential and non-residential
trades will rise by 2015, exceeding 2008 employment levels. New housing
investment and housing starts will rebound in the longer term reaching 32
thousand units in 2017.
    The forecast also projects that as many as 22,000 construction workers
are expected to retire from 2009 to 2017. Another 8,000 new workers will be
needed to meet construction demand later in the forecast period as the economy
strengthens and major oil sand investment increases starting in 2014.
    "We're confident that today's symposium will help us put a regional plan
in place to meet the need for skilled trades' people regardless of economic
cycles," said Ron Harry, Executive Director of the Building Trades of Alberta.
"Industry and government must meet the challenges of volatile markets by
continually utilizing skilled trades people from all parts of Canada,
replacing retirees and improving the skills of our construction workforce."
    The Construction Sector Council is Canada's most reliable source for
labour market forecasting and commentary. The CSC is a national organization
committed to supporting the future needs of Canada's construction industry
through a highly skilled workforce.
    The CSC's "Construction Looking Forward" national and regional forecasts
provide governments, colleges, labour and industry with accurate information
on labour supply and demand to ensure Canada's construction industry remains a
leading sector in Canada's economy.
    Alberta's Construction Looking Forward Scenario 2009-2010 will be
available in the coming weeks along with a summary from the Alberta Labour
Market Symposium and all forecast scenario data at
www.constructionforecasts.ca





For further information:

For further information: Rosemary Sparks, Construction Sector Council,
(416) 271-2633; Scott Brownrigg, Sussex Strategy Group, (416) 277-8847

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