An association representing hundreds of construction companies in Calgary is sounding the alarm about job vacancies in the region.
The Calgary Construction Association (CCA) said commercial and residential builders are struggling to find enough workers to keep up with development demands.
CCA president Bill Black said labour makes up around two-thirds of the cost of a building, and protracted schedules can also drive up costs.
“So if you start to see, as we have done in the past, labour begin to get to the point where it cannot meet the demand, you will start to see significant escalation (and) you’ll get delays to projects which then can also have cost implications,” Black said. “And so literally you will potentially see an inability to meet the economic growth.
“Our concern is that this year and in the near future, the skilled worker shortage will become a key issue.”
The construction association said there are 3,000 to 4,000 construction job vacancies in the Calgary region.
The CCA president said he’s heard of member companies going overseas to recruit workers for the upcoming spring construction season, and vacancies are felt on construction sites and in company offices.
Federally, the Canadian Construction Association said there are over 93,000 construction job vacancies in the industry that employs 1.3 million Canadians. Statistics Canada pegged October’s construction job vacancies at 67,400 after a decline of 17,200 in Q3.
According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data, housing starts in Alberta have been trending up since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with October 2022 starts surpassing September 2014 levels.