Due to a labor shortage, Ontario currently lacking over 100,000 construction workers
Ontario, like many other Canadian regions, is experiencing a severe labor shortage in the building sector. The province will require over 100,000 construction workers this decade to meet its housing demand due to an aging workforce and a booming demand for housing and infrastructure projects.
Experienced construction workers’ impending retirement is one of the primary causes of Ontario’s labor shortage in the industry. In just the next ten years, over 80,000 construction professionals in Ontario alone are anticipated to retire, according to a BuildForce Canada report. The industry is in desperate need of new hires to replace the large exodus of skilled workers.
According to Statistics Canada’s labor survey, 45,000 jobs were lost in the nation’s construction sector in July. Comparing this to the previous month, there was a decrease of 2.8%. Construction employment has dropped by 71,000 since January 2023.
It is well known that Doug Ford intends to construct 1.5 million new homes over the course of the next ten years. With the impending mass retirement of construction workers, achieving this goal appears to be unrealistic.
The governments of Ontario and Canada have taken a number of actions to alleviate the labour shortage in the construction sector, realizing the urgency of the situation. With the goal of advancing skilled trades, the province has committed almost $1 billion in programs since 2020. These initiatives include dispelling myths about trade careers, luring in young talent, streamlining the apprenticeship program, and promoting employer involvement.
Permitting high school students to enroll in training and certification programs is one of the main tactics. The government permits trade recruiters to visit high schools, giving students early exposure to the advantages of pursuing a career in the trades. Reducing the age at which high school students can begin their apprenticeships is another way to encourage early career entry.
Canada invited foreign nationals with prior trade experience to apply for Express Entry for the first time in July. This will enable applicants with trade experience, such as contractors, electricians, and welders, to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry application management system. The purpose of these adjustments is to assist Canada’s construction industry in luring in the qualified labor needed throughout the nation.
Another Government initiative is to remove barriers for female construction workers, inviting more women to join the skilled trades workforce. The changes include implementing women’s-only bathrooms where reasonable and providing more accessible and suitable bathrooms under new regulations to the Construction Projects Regulation O. Reg. 213/91 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, O. Reg. 61/23.
Immigration has the advantage of reducing the number of job openings in sectors like manufacturing, healthcare, and construction that are experiencing a wave of retirements. Indeed, by the end of 2025, an estimated 1.45 million newcomers—a record—are anticipated to enter Canada. Although this will help close these job gaps, these newcomers will also require housing. This indicates that the demand for housing is rising due to a shortage of available housing, a record number of immigrants entering the nation, and a labor shortage.
Canada will require an extra 30.5 million homes to solve its affordability problems, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). This goal seems incredibly distant given the current labor shortage.
The government’s initiatives are a positive start, but more will probably be required to address the housing crisis and labor shortages that the province and the nation are experiencing.
With over 100,000 construction workers currently lacking in Ontario, we can anticipate a rise in housing shortages, which will ultimately drive up home prices. A smart strategy to safeguard your future is to make real estate investments now, before the cost of housing rises. Contact a GTA-Homes Platinum Agent or register with us to find out more about your investment options.