As one of the largest and most significant economic forces in Canada, the health of the construction and design sectors is a key factor to the country’s prosperity. 

Current forecasts suggest by 2020 Canada will represent the fifth largest construction market in the world. One of the main drivers is the oil and gas sector, which will account for nearly 50 percent of that economic growth. That being said, the latest numbers released earlier this month show new construction growth in Ontario is expected to slow to just over one percent. While this represents the slowest year-over-year gain since 2009, we are buoyed by the fact there is still growth happening in Ontario.

Infrastructure planning

Across Canada we are experiencing an infrastructure deficit estimated to exceed $200 billion. This is a direct result of years of investment neglect during the 60s, 70s and 80s. The leaders of our industry recognized the need to champion future infrastructure investment and formed the Construction Design Alliance of Ontario. As a result it has been recognized that the Ontario government must work with the industry on improving procurement practices and infrastructure investment and policies. Construction and design industry sector experts, seek to facilitate solutions to Ontario’s infrastructure challenges. 

Stable and well-planned, long-term investment in Ontario’s infrastructure is the backbone of our future economic prosperity. The magnitude of its impact reminds us that when done thoughtfully and supported through evidence-based planning, spending on infrastructure is an investment in our future. Governments recognize every dollar invested in infrastructure ripples through the economy, creating a multiplier effect that drives job creation and prosperity in every community.

“Those working in the construction and design sectors have proven time and again to be innovators. We are entrepreneurs, leaders and risk-takers.”

Transportation development

Transportation is a key infrastructure investment area. Road and public transit investment initiatives, such as the 25-year, $50 billion Big Move project and Ontario’s 10-year commitment to sustainable infrastructure investment, have a direct impact on economic growth. As noted by Ontario’s Transit Investment Strategy Advisory panel: “The transportation infrastructure investments we make today will determine the quality of our lives for generations.”

Sustainable building

Protecting our environment is of key importance to constructors and our partners in the design community. Sustainability is not just an esoteric concept. It is a reality as more construction projects are adopting green building principles through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, led by the Canada Green Building Council. Over the past decade, thousands of commercial and government buildings, schools, community centers and historic structures have been retrofitted or newly constructed to green building standards that reduce the environmental impact during the construction process and over the life-cycle of the building.

Workplace safety

Working safe is a cornerstone of the industry and must be constantly pursued. Ontario is rapidly adopting the nationally-based workplace safety program known as CoR or the Certificate of Recognition. CoR drives a positive workplace behavior and promotes practices that lead to improved performance. It is currently being used across Canada and is a pre-qualification requirement for many contractors working in and out of Ontario on public- and private-sector projects. It is just another initiative to help ensure everyone returns home safely to their families after each and every workday.

Future of the industry

The industry is also facing a shortage of skilled workers and managerial level professionals as the demographic bubble works its way to retirement age. It is estimated by 2020 Canada will need more than 320,000 new workers. With every challenge comes opportunity. The industry is actively engaged in multi-level marketing of employment opportunities within the sector to help fill the anticipated void.

Those working in the construction and design sectors have proven time and again to be innovators. We are entrepreneurs, leaders and risk-takers. We have a track record of finding solutions to challenges that are put before us. We will continue to contribute to the economic prosperity of Canada as we build this great nation.