B.C. Construction Industry Faces Labor Shortage and Payment Delays

B.C. Construction Industry Faces Labor Shortage and Payment Delays
April 17, 2024

The B.C. construction sector is experiencing a mixed situation. While the workforce numbers have shown improvement compared to a decade ago, there's still a significant shortage of qualified workers putting a strain on employers.

Key facts

  • The BC Construction Association reports a projected skilled worker deficit of 6,600 by 2033, down from the previously estimated 26,100 in 2023.
  • Despite improvement, the number of trades workers has dropped 7% in the last five years to 167,300.
  • The average construction company size has shrunk by 15% during the same period.

Wage Increase

  • To attract workers, the average annual wage in the sector has risen to nearly $75,000, a 21% increase in the last five years.
  • Entry-level construction workers now earn over $22 per hour, exceeding the provincial minimum wage by 25%.

Payment Delays

  • Construction companies also face challenges related to late payments. Contractors may have to wait for months to receive payment for their work.
  • This delay creates financial risks and increases debt burdens, potentially leading to bankruptcies.
  • The association says construction companies are essentially financing construction projects, including much-needed housing.

Call to Action

  • The BC Construction Association is urging the provincial government to enact prompt-payment legislation to ease the financial strain on the industry.
  • The construction sector employs 229,100 people and contributes $27 billion, or 10.3%, to B.C.'s GDP.
  • The government is reviewing prompt-payment legislation from other jurisdictions to determine its applicability in B.C.

Source: BNN Bloomberg

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