Calgary Construction Association in Ottawa to Advocate on Job Vacancies, Immigration Reform

This week, Bill Black our President and COO, and Frano Cavar, our Director of Government Relations, were in Ottawa, Ontario to participate in the Canadian Construction Association’s Annual Hill Day.

They joined representatives from across the Canadian construction sector to call on the federal government to make changes to modernize Canada’s immigration policy and update the Temporary Foreign Worker program in order to address the most severe labour shortage Canada has faced in more than 50 years. While every province and sector of the Canadian economy is reeling from historically high job vacancy rates, the situation is especially acute for the construction industry.

The federal government has an ambitious growth plan – one that includes repairing, maintaining and retrofitting aging infrastructure while also building for future climate resilience.

But even the best laid plans can be derailed without the workers we need to keep us on track. The construction industry is currently struggling to fill over 81,000 jobs nationwide. For comparison, there were 83,000 people employed in construction in the Calgary region in August, 2022 – highlighting just how big the vacancy issue really is.

This means that essential projects – schools, hospitals, power generation, roads, bridges and trade corridors that connect our communities not only to each other, but also to the global marketplace – may be delayed or cancelled.

The recent announcement that Canada would seek to welcome up to 500,000 new immigrants annually by 2025 is a good start, but skills matching is essential.

Urgent action from the federal government includes:

  • Modernizing Canada’s immigration policy and point system to better recognize those with relevant skills and construction labourers.
  • Working with the provinces to ensure skills matching is properly funded and supported.
  • Updating the Temporary Foreign Worker program to allow seamless access for the construction industry.

More information is available here.

Article by Lena Hogarth
November 16, 2022

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