Where Have the People Gone?
/ Author: Ryan Timmermans 630 Rate this article:

Where Have the People Gone?

A frequent question today is where and how to find skilled people

By Ryan Timmermans, Regional Director, Saskatoon Member Centre

Within the CLAC world, we have had well over 100,000 tradespeople work with signatory employers throughout the years—one of the largest, mobile workforces in the country.

Coming out of COVID, our country and many of you, are busy. As various expansions and projects get underway, western Canada is an active place—pipelines, industrial and commercial construction, solar and wind, turnarounds, and ongoing maintenance.

Tradespeople in eastern and central Canada have ample work in their home provinces. In BC it’s a similar story. In the prairies, relative to our population and workforce size, there’s a lot of work, more than we’ve had in several years.

So, the question keeps coming up from owner groups: do we have the skilled people to perform this work?

Prior to COVID, a large cohort of skilled and experienced tradespeople in the age range of 55 to 70 were still actively working. As COVID carried on, a lot of these folks left the industry for retirement

The question is, will they come back?

At the same time, as the economy slowed, the available hours and demand for new young workers also declined. As a result, a lot of would-be starters, as well as first and second-year apprentices, went to look for employment in other industries.

So, the same question applies: will they return?

The reality is we need to encourage both groups to come back as demand and opportunity will be strong for the foreseeable future. It takes many hands, young and old, to build opportunity and prosperity for our communities and province.

As you know, once you have a ticket, you have a ticket for life no matter what kind of work or industry you get into.

If you have friends or family who left the trades, or who might be interested in learning a trade, now is the time to encourage them to come back or consider getting into it as we look ahead to a very strong construction labour market, with some excellent options and opportunities for learning and consistent, good-paying work.

Wishing you a safe, healthy, and prosperous fall season.

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