Ontario's Construction Unions and Contractors Lead the Way in
TORONTO, Feb. 17 /CNW/ - Ontario's industrial, commercial and
institutional building construction industry continues to face skills
shortages, a situation that is likely to worsen with the aging
workforce, making increased awareness and investment in apprenticeship
training an important economic priority for the province.
According to the annual survey of the industry commissioned by the
Ontario Construction Secretariat, parts of which were released today,
contractors identify shortages of skilled labour and staff as the key
barrier to business expansion. Only 18% of the respondents expect the
availability of skilled construction workers to increase in 2011, down
from 23% last year and 47% in 2009.
"This points to the need for increased investment in apprenticeship
training to further awareness of career opportunities in the skilled
construction trades as well as to improve employment opportunities for
apprentices, yet the survey indicates that the opposite may be taking
place," says Sean Strickland, CEO of the Secretariat.
The number of firms employing apprentices has declined to 43% from 47% a
year ago (and 57% in 2009). Unionized contractors are considerably more
likely to hire registered apprentices, with 68% of union respondents
indicating that they employ apprentices compared to 32% of non-union
contractors. The survey also revealed that unionized contractors are
more likely to employ significantly more apprentices than their
And among those firms that employ apprentices, only about one-quarter
(23%) indicate that their investment in apprenticeship training is
increasing, while most (71%) indicate that it is 'staying the same'.
"Typically during periods of decreased economic activity, apprenticeship
investment declines due to fewer construction projects. In times of
decreased construction activity it is harder to find jobs for
apprentices. We hope that with increased economic activity we will see
additional investment in apprenticeship," Strickland notes.
The Construction Sector Council (CSC) has estimated that the Ontario
construction industry will need to replace 23% of its workforce or
73,000 workers by 2019 because of the aging of this population.
Among contractors that employ apprentices, there is disagreement over
whether the skill levels of apprentices are better today than five
years ago - 40% saying yes, 40% saying no.
However, there is agreement on some of the areas that need to be
addressed in order to attract and train the skilled workers of the
65% say youth are not aware of construction career opportunities
93% say more needs to be done to expose youth to the technical skills
required by the construction industry
82% say new training requirements will be needed because of new
environmental standards such as LEED
77% indicate that the academic level of new apprentices needs to be
The survey of 1,000 non-residential ICI contractors in Ontario was
conducted by Ipsos Reid between November 21 and December 16, 2010. The
margin of error is +/- 3.1%, nineteen times out of twenty (95%
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:
The survey report is available on request. To arrange an interview with Sean Strickland, CEO of the Secretariat, please contact:
Dena Fehir or Niki Kerimova