Industry association and provincial government announce plans to boost construction worker numbers in Canada’s maritime province.

A shortage of workers in the Prince Edward Island construction sector has opened an immediate need for 500-750 workers in the Canadian maritime province, according to industry officials, and as reported by CBC news.

“The aging of the population is affecting the number of construction workers required. Over the next seven to 10 years, we will lose 250,000 to 300,000 tradespeople across Canada due to retirement,” said Sam Sanderson General Manager of the Construction Association of PEI (CAPEI). “The shortage of skilled tradespeople regionally and nationally is becoming a serious issue.”

“Attracting and retaining skilled workers will be essential to keep growing the Island economy,” said Sanderson. “To address this challenge, we will be working with government to identify innovative approaches to meet our workforce needs and to implement a multi-faceted plan to attract workers to our industry.”

There are about 1,200 construction and trades companies on PEI, with company sizes ranging from one or two employees up to 90 at peak season. About 7,000 to 10,000 people work in the construction industry on PEI. “Some of our members are saying they can’t find workers,” said Sam.

In anticipation of the workforce demands, the Government of PEI has partnered with CAPEI to support new training and employment opportunities in the province’s fast-growing construction industry.

"Acting now to boost the construction sector workforce will ensure that this growth will continue, while also connecting Islanders to well-paying jobs for the long term," said Premier Wade MacLauchlan in a news release.

Last Friday, the government announced support for CAPEI to develop a worker recruitment plan.

It also renewed funding for the Trade HERizons initiative led by Women's Network PEI, which aims to increase the number of women in trades. The initiative will support 20 women this year in preparation for trades related training and jobs.

Government is currently supporting training and employment initiatives for 100 workers in construction, and will double that support to assist 100 more Islanders gain skills and experience,” said Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Sonny Gallant. “We will also be working to promote apprenticeship pathways for people interested in trades and identify innovative alternative training delivery opportunities with Holland College.”

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