B.C. budget spells construction jobs
February 28, 2018
An ambitious, housing-focused provincial budget is calling for a massive multi-year construction pace across British Columbia. The province has pledged to build 114,000 homes over the next 10 years.
“We’re going to build the homes that people need. These homes will be a mix of housing for students, people with disabilities, seniors and families, and will range from supported social housing to market rental housing,” said BC Finance Minister Carole James.
The budget earmarked $6 billion to housing construction over 10 years.
But construction experts say it will be a stretch to find enough workers to build to what amounts to a 25 per cent increase in annual B.C. housing starts.
BuildForce Canada estimates that the province will have a shortage of workers this year because a number of major construction projects are scheduled to start.
“This may be the largest surge in engineering construction in recent memory, and it’s happening at a time when many skilled trades are already in short supply,” said Bill Ferreira, executive director of BuildForce Canada. “B.C.’s construction workforce will need to expand by up to 23 percent by 2021 to meet project requirements. That takes careful planning.”
The budget’s focus on housing also includes an increase in the foreign-home buyer tax to 20 per cent, up from 15 per cent, and its extension to every major centre in southern British Columbia.