Construction Worker Shortage Hinders Housing Supply Growth in Canada

Construction Worker Shortage Hinders Housing Supply Growth in Canada
April 18, 2024

Canada's dream of homeownership is facing a double challenge: not enough houses and not enough skilled workers to build them. Here's a breakdown of the issue:

The Problem: Fewer Construction Workers, More Homes Needed

  • Canada's national housing agency, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), cites a construction worker shortage as a key reason for low housing supply.
  • Baby boomers are retiring faster than new workers are entering the field, creating a skills gap.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic worsened the situation, with some workers leaving the industry altogether.

Longer Build Times, Potential Cost Increases

  • With fewer workers available, construction projects take longer to complete. This can delay the availability of new homes.
  • A limited workforce could also lead to higher construction costs, impacting the final price of new homes.

A Shrinking Workforce

  • The Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) estimates a significant portion, 22% of residential construction workers, are set to retire in the next decade.
  • To meet future housing needs, Canada might require over 500,000 additional construction workers by 2030 according to RBC.

Building a Stronger Workforce

  • The federal budget acknowledged the issue and proposed attracting more immigrants with skilled trades backgrounds.
  • Streamlining the process for recognizing foreign credentials of skilled immigrants could help fill the gap faster.
  • Encouraging Canadians to pursue careers in skilled trades and apprenticeship programs can develop a domestic talent pool.
  • Incentives for experienced workers to stay in the workforce could help retain valuable skills and knowledge.

Innovation: Building Smarter

  • Increased use of factory-built housing and digital construction tools could offer solutions.
  • These innovations can potentially improve construction productivity and reduce reliance on manual labor.

A Collaborative Effort

Addressing the construction worker shortage requires a multi-pronged approach.  Collaboration between the government, industry, and educational institutions is crucial.

  • The government can create policies to attract skilled immigrants and streamline credential recognition.
  • The industry can promote skilled trades careers and incentivize experienced workers.
  • Educational institutions can develop stronger apprenticeship programs.

By focusing on both domestic talent and skilled immigration, along with exploring innovative building methods, Canada can work towards a more balanced and sustainable housing market in the long run.

Looking to Navigate the Market?

The real estate market is constantly evolving. Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty can be your trusted partner.  Our experienced agents can guide you through the current market conditions and help you achieve your real estate goals.

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