Thousands of construction job vacancies for 2026 predicted

October 20, 2017

MONICA LAMB-YORSKI - The Williams Lake Tribune

Only one in 70 B.C. grads are presently going into the trades.

By 2026 it is predicted 14,200 construction jobs will be vacant due to labour shortages, Scott Bone, CEO of the Northern Regional Construction Association (NRCA) told Williams Lake city council during a presentation at its regular meeting Tuesday.

“Right now we have one in 70 B.C. grads going directly into the trades,” Bone said. “One in five are needed to fill the gap.”

Two thirds of people working in the trades are over the age of 45, and 94 per cent of B.C. construction companies are hiring this year, he added.

Bone also told council the NRCA is available to municipalities for preparing construction reviews prior to projects going to tender.

The association can provide timelines from a contractor’s point of view, resulting in significant cost savings, he said, noting the service is free.

“With some municipalities, if a project is worth over $1 million we will assist with that review,” Bone said. “It just provides added value.”

Local preference policies for hiring have always been an issue, Bone told council.

Under the Northwest Trade Agreement, which includes the provinces between Manitoba and B.C., local preference policies are prohibited, he explained.

“You are not allowed to have any preferences within a bidding document that would discriminate against contractors outside the community.”

There have been a number of cases where local governments have attempted to use local preferences and been challenged, he added.


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