Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Construction cranes tower above condos in Vancouver, on Feb. 9, 2020.

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

The association representing construction employers in British Columbia says most expect less work in 2021, although employees will see wages climb.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association has released its annual report showing just 38 per cent of firms expect more work next year than in 2020.

However, the survey says the continuing shortage of skilled workers means companies expect to pay staff 3.5 per cent more in 2021 and provide a 4.2 per cent raise the following year.

Story continues below advertisement

The association says the findings are based on responses from about 1,000 construction companies across B.C.

Association president Chris Gardner says the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic were felt by the industry this year as construction volumes dropped 15 per cent, fewer tenders were issued and wage increases were limited to about half a per cent.

Mr. Gardner says skilled glaziers, insulators and steel fabricators are still in high demand as 100 per cent of companies report a need for those trades, while openings for crane operators, roofers and pipefitters top 90 per cent.

He says the demand reflects a construction work force that is reaching retirement age.

“If you’re looking for work, construction remains a strong option,” he says in the statement.

“There is incredible opportunity in construction for young people, entrepreneurs and skilled trades workers.”

The high demand comes at a difficult time as Mr. Gardner says more than half of B.C.’s construction firms would normally anticipate additional projects over the coming year, but the survey reveals significant pessimism.

Story continues below advertisement

“The percentage of contractors who foresee a decline in business in 2021 is almost twice as large as last year,” he says.

While companies in the north and Vancouver Island remain relatively optimistic, the Lower Mainland and rest of B.C. are very nervous, Mr. Gardner says.

The association represents more than 3,000 construction and resource development companies employing more than 240,000 workers.

It’s annual survey shows just 35 per cent of contractors in the Lower Mainland and 37 per cent in the Interior expect more work in 2021 than they had this year.

Those numbers climb to 54 per cent on Vancouver Island and 56 per cent in the north, the association says.

Labourers are in especially high demand, as contractors in every region of the province report available jobs, while electricians, plumbers and carpenters are also needed.

Story continues below advertisement

More than half of all construction employers in B.C. say they need workers but the association says the shortages are most pronounced in the north, where 67 per cent of firms have openings, while only 54 per cent of Interior employers say they need more staff.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies