Starts slow down eases labour shortage
April 8, 2019
A 16 per cent decline in Canadian housing starts in February may signal the residential construction industry will be given some room to catch up with a serious shortage of workers.
February’s annual pace of starts dipped to 173,500 units, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. This was below industry projections of 205,000 starts and down from 207,0000, annualized, in January.
The slow down comes as the home building industry is dealing with a shortage of skilled workers. Within a decade, an estimated 22 per cent of tradespeople will have retired, but BuildForce Canada also cautions that not enough young workers are coming into the construction industry.
BuildForce noted that attracting new workers will rely on the industry’s ability to keep youth interested in the trades, and its success at recruiting from non-traditional sources. Residential builders will need to hire 135,900 workers (to replace 129,100 retirees and fill 6,800 new positions) between now and 2028 to meet demand, the agency said.
To make up for the impending shortage, the BuildForce said the industry must focus on recruiting more women, Indigenous Canadians and immigrants.