Both the Federal and Provincial New Brunswick governments have committed funds to address the shortage of construction labour in NB.
A new Labour Force Adjustment Committee to develop short-term and long-term solutions to labour shortages in New Brunswick’s construction sector.
And it means that $440,000 of funding will be provided to help address the shortage of labour that is hampering the construction industry in New Brunswick.
This initiative is a direct response to the NB Housing Strategy: Housing for All and the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and the commitment to increase the number of skilled trades professionals through a three-year Residential Construction and Manufacturing Action Plan.
The provincial government has committed $250,000 to the project while the federal government is providing $190,612 of funding.
The new committee will be led by the Construction Association of New Brunswick and will include members from both levels of government and various industry stakeholders.
The committee will examine challenges and opportunities with a specific focus on how the province and industry can fill job vacancies by better leveraging immigration.
The funding will be used to promote and increase participation in apprenticeships and the skilled trades and to help cover for an estimated 8,400 retirements by 2032 which will add to the existing 4.2 per cent of construction jobs not being filled.
“New Brunswick is experiencing unprecedented growth and we need to accelerate building everything from schools to homes to commercial space,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Arlene Dunn.
“The construction workforce is at the centre of this, and this committee will be key to helping us find ways to meet the growing demand for skilled tradespeople, particularly in relation to residential construction.”
Social Development Minister Jill Green, who is also minister responsible for the New Brunswick Housing Corporation, added: “Our government is working closely with its partners to address every aspect that is putting pressure on housing, especially labour pressures.
“Each program and initiative the New Brunswick Housing Corporation and its partners are working on – from building new affordable and public housing, to tenant protections, to increasing the supply of skilled tradespeople – are all working in tandem to help solve the housing crunch.”
Vacancies in construction are much higher than the average of other industries, which has required many construction firms to turn down work due to the lack of staffing levels.
“The construction sector in New Brunswick represents 7.5 per cent of the provincial GDP and it is at a critical stage,” said John-Ryan Morrison, executive director of the Construction Association of New Brunswick.
“We need to produce new and innovative ways to address the labour shortage so that we will be able to meet this province’s growth needs.”