But Optimism is Tentative And Barriers to Growth Remain
TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - According to the most comprehensive survey of
the construction industry in Ontario, almost half of building
contractors in the province expect that they'll be busier this year
than in 2010.
The annual survey of industrial, commercial and institutional building
contractors reveals that 44% anticipate more work this year, and 34%
expect to increase their number of employees. The survey, parts of
which were released today by the Ontario Construction Secretariat, was
conducted by Ipsos Reid.
"There's good news this year, but it is tempered with some underlying
caution," notes Sean Strickland, CEO of the Secretariat. While 55% of
survey respondents express optimism about the economy, this number is
soft in that it is largely made up of those who say the economy is only
'somewhat good' rather than 'very good'.
"Like most Canadians, Ontario's contractors are optimistic about the
future, but are concerned about how much business expansion will
actually occur in the coming year," says Strickland.
Firms in the GTA are the most positive about their prospects. Those in
Southwestern Ontario and particularly firms in the Windsor-Sarnia
region, hit by the slowdown in the auto and petrochemical industries,
are the most negative.
Firms located in the GTA and Central Ontario are the most likely to be
anticipating workforce increases this year, which is consistent with
their forecast for an improved level of business. Given a tougher year
expected by contractors in Southwestern Ontario, it is not surprising
that firms in that region are less likely to anticipate expanding
payrolls in 2011.
According to the survey, the commercial sector is expected to lead in
increased construction activity this year followed by the industrial
sector. The percentage of contractors expecting to conduct more work in
the institutional sector is down from 2010, consistent with the
perception that the budget constraints of government will slow
Building contractors identify three factors that continue to limit their
Skilled Labour - The availability of skilled labour and staff is seen as the key
barrier to business expansion. Furthermore, only 18% of the survey
respondents expect the availability of skilled construction workers to
increase in 2011. This points to the need for further awareness of
career opportunities in the skilled trades and improved employment
opportunities for apprentices with construction employers.
Economic Issues - While 2010 was a better year for contractors, it appears that the
effects of the recession are still lingering in their minds. Case in
point, survey respondents are only cautiously optimistic about
Ontario's economic prospects and the ability of the private sector to
be a growth leader. Employers are still concerned about access to
financing, cash flow and the availability of new projects.
The Competitive Nature of the Industry - Almost half (46%) of all firms expect the level of competition from
other firms to increase in 2011. The industry is highly fragmented,
with the vast majority of firms (86%) employing fewer than 50
individuals. 67% of firms work on projects valued at less than
Established in 1993, the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
facilitates relationships and dialogue among trade unions and
contractors in the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI)
construction industry. Together with representatives from the
provincial government, OCS forms a tripartite organization. Its mission
is to improve the competitive position of the industry through
knowledge, research and discussion of issues of common concern. Please
visit www.iciconstruction.com for further information.
SOURCE Ontario Construction Secretariat
For further information:
Dena Fehir or Niki Kerimova