You can rest assured that construction jobs are growing in Canada. Canada’s construction industry employs more than 1.3 million people, and contributes approximately 7 percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Construction is one of the most popular areas.
Residential (single unit, low-rise, high-rise)ICI Buildings (institutional, commercial, and industrial)Infrastructure (transportation, water, utilities)MiningOil and gasLNG (technically part of the oil and gas industry, but separated as it’s a new emerging sector)
Canada’s growing population and steady economic growth have created a strong need for tradespeople and construction professionals. The demand for skilled labour is consistently higher than the supply due to Canada’s aging population. Canada is the second-largest country in the world, with only 38 million inhabitants. This means that Canada still relies on international workers for its construction industry.
What are the most in-demand jobs in construction in Canada?
Project Directors – ICI (institutional, commercial and industrial) Buildings & Infrastructure Senior Project Managers – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure Senior Superintendents – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure Commercial Managers & Contracts Managers – Infrastructure Senior Estimators – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure Design Managers – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure Schedulers – Infrastructure
This detailed blog by Outpost Recruitment, our sister company, focuses on recruitment for construction jobs, provides more information about the typical job titles in Canada.
Construction professionals looking to work in the contracting sector will benefit from a solid engineering or construction management education. It doesn’t matter how high your education is, you can still climb the ladder in construction.
Important to remember that Canada, unlike other countries like Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East, focuses on permanent residence rather than bringing in temporary foreign workers on short term permits. Canada is a country that offers attractive work and it’s easier to obtain permanent residence. There are many other options available if you do not qualify for permanent residence.
Qualifications and degrees
It is a good idea to hold one of these degrees or qualifications if you wish to work in Canada as a construction worker:
Higher Diploma >B. Higher National Diploma (HND), Tech, Trade qualification – This could help you to get into Canada through the Federal Skilled Trades Program. It is one of Canada’s permanent residence programs that is linked with Express Entry.
Engineer in Training (EIT), if your engineering transcripts are approved by the provincial engineering body, this may be granted to you.
P. Engineer Eng. Engineers can obtain a P. Eng. Although less important for contracting, the designation is still highly respected.
Gold Seal Certification (GSC), a Canadian designation, is practical for professionals who have a career in project management.
Project Management Professional (PMP). Having a Project Manager Professional (PMP), is a better global designation for project managers.
MRICS – This designation is for Quantity Surveyors as well as Building Surveyors. The MRICS designation can be recognized across Canada.
Canadian Association of Consulting Quantity Surveyors (CACQS) has issued the Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS), a Canadian designation that is similar to MRICS to Quantity Surveyors.
Since 2012, Outpost Recruitment, has connected the top international engineers with Canadian employers in civil, infrastructure, and ICI buildings projects. Outpost is a Canadian company that assists international candidates in moving to Canada. clients include:
General Contractors, Subcontractors (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical)Consultants – project delivery, cost consultants
Outpost Recruitment partners with top contractors in infrastructure and buildings to fill these construction positions in Canada.
Project Director / Operations Manager Project Managers – All Levels (Junior PM to Senior)Design Managers Superintendents Estimators How to move to Canada as a Construction Professional
There are many options when it comes to moving to Canada to work as a contractor. There are also work permit categories which don’t require you to have a job, unlike the Gulf States and Australia. You can also get permanent residence (PR) very quickly, even if there’s no job offer. Canada is open to construction workers via a variety PR programs and a number of work permit types. Outpost Recruitment has a blog that provides detailed information about all of these programs, including the IEC program, work permits, and many other topics.
Consider these locations
You might find it worthwhile to review our information below on employment trends in Canada for the past decade. You can find the best locations for you depending on which sector you choose.
Toronto – The Greater Toronto Area is a large area that includes many suburbs and a central core known for its CN Tower and ever-increasing amount of skyscrapers. The GTA is a huge area of more than 6 million people and represents the largest employment market in Canada for construction. Vancouver – The Vancouver Lower Mainland area encompasses over 10 cities (municipalities) and has a booming real estate market with a strong pipeline of infrastructure projects. Montreal – Quebec’s largest city, and Canada’s second-largest, offers lots of opportunities, but you may need to reconsider if you do not have working knowledge of French. Ottawa – Canada’s capital city offers a great quality of life. Calgary – Calgary is the home of oil and gas in Canada, and struggling due to low commodity prices and lack of pipelines to bring Canada’s oil to world markets. Edmonton – Edmonton is the blue collar town in Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Fly-in-Fly-Out (FIFO) – If your goal is to work on remote projects, there are lots of options including LNG, traditional oil and gas, mining or infrastructure projects to choose from. It is possible to live in a large city while still being able to commute for your rotation shift.
Let’s look at some of the most recent trends in construction throughout Canada. This will help you to build your knowledge and make the right decision about where to live.
2009-2014: International boom drives demand from all construction sectors.
Canada is a small country with a lot of natural resources. Both Canada and Australia have an economy that is closely related to the prices of natural resources. This can lead to booms or busts in short cycles. Canada is a major producer of oil, natural gases, copper, gold and silver as well as iron, potash and uranium. One third of the world’s oil resources are located in Northern Alberta, but there are resource deposits throughout Canada.
The high commodity prices between 2009 and 2014 led to substantial investment in mining and oil-and gas projects across Canada. The labour-intensive nature of resource extraction led to booms in the Prairie Provinces (Alberta and Saskatchewan) which saw workers from across Canada and around the globe flocking to the provinces. These provinces saw an increase in population during this time, which helped to boost the local economies of places like Calgary, Edmonton and Fort McMurray. Each municipality had to build new infrastructure and hire workers to keep up with the growth of the population. This was due to the fact that there were many industries affected by the shortage of skilled workers, not just those in the natural resource sector. Calgary and Edmonton faced stiff competition from Vancouver and Toronto for international workers during this time, because these cities offered more opportunities for economic immigrants and lower living costs.
This led to a shortage of jobs in other areas of construction in Canada, as local and foreign workers moved to the booming sector. As economic migrants came to Canada in search of work, the resource boom attracted many foreign workers. Fort McMurray was home to many fly-in, fly-out workers who came from all parts of the globe to take part in the oil sands boom. Vancouver and Toronto employers were losing some of its workforce to the industry sector, and they needed international workers to fill in the gaps. Canadian companies organized international recruitment drives in response to this demand. Employers were able to obtain permission to sponsor foreign workers because the local labour supply was not sufficient to meet demand. The construction of new oil and gas plants was accelerated by high oil prices. Canadian workers were moving up to higher-paid roles in the resource sector, which created a demand for foreign workers to fill these positions across Canada.
2015 and beyond: A boom in infrastructure
Since 2014, lower commodity prices have resulted in a cooling of labour markets in Prairies provinces. This has led to a decline in investment in resource projects and economic stagnation. Canada has made significant investments in infrastructure programs throughout the country since the downturn in the industrial sector. This has helped to absorb many workers from the resource sector. As Canada has shifted its focus to absorbing Canadian workers into other industries, international demand has declined since 2014. Employer sponsorship is now less common, but this has not stopped international workers from obtaining temporary work permits and permanent residence in Canada.
These changes have had the net effect that international workers now focus more on Ontario and British Columbia. Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto are now more stable destinations for international workers. Both cities’ economies are buoyed by tourism, film and IT. They also have strong foreign investment which makes them less dependent upon resource prices. Both cities have strong residential, commercial, and institutional construction sectors. There is also plenty of infrastructure activity as the population continues to grow.
The current COVID-19 epidemic is both a crisis economic and health-related. It is evident that Canada’s construction sector will be impacted by COVID-19 over the coming years. The pandemic’s initial shockwaves on the construction industry have been lessened by a commitment to infrastructure spending, which appears to be a cornerstone for economic recovery. Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in Canada regarding COVID-19.