What is the true state of the industry? Understanding Nova Scotia’s construction labour market

RELEASE — April 4, 2024

The Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council (NSCSC) and industry partners are seeking feedback from trade professionals, employees, apprentices and students in the Industrial-Commercial-Institutional (ICI) Construction Sector. NSCSC, along with ICI industry partners, is conducting a labour market study to better understand the current state of the sector and identify future challenges and opportunities to manage anticipated retirement rates and unprecedented investments in our province to build hospitals, multi-residential buildings, schools, renewable energy projects, etc. resulting in increasing construction activities.

“This study couldn’t come at a better time with previous labour market studies of this magnitude being conducted almost 10 years ago. With Nova Scotia’s labour force struggles affecting everything from immigration to wages to housing, this comprehensive look at the province’s ICI industry is very important and much needed right now,” says Duncan Williams of the Construction Association of Nova Scotia.

Outreach among industry partners is well underway with data already collected from Employers in the sector. Early indications reveal that employment demand in the construction sector will continue to increase in the coming years; however, emerging themes such as lack of skilled people, high competition among businesses for professionals, difficulties in retaining labour in the local area, housing for workers, lack of qualifications/education, wage expectations of workers and the alignment of worker/employer expectations have all been identified as potential barriers to growth.

“There are a lot of stories floating around right now about what’s happening with labour, training, and worker shortages in Nova Scotia. With this project using a grass root approach that aims to collect responses from thousands of members within the ICI industry, we aim to produce answers, not just anecdotes,” says Brad Smith of The Mainland Building Trades.

While major project announcements such as the QEII Halifax Infirmary, M District, Sydney Waterfront development and many more along with work underway on projects like Cape Breton Regional Hospital Development, Everwind Hydrogen, Nova Scotia School Capital Plan, Maritime Launch Services Spaceport, provide great optimism for people who would prefer to be employed in Nova Scotia; new graduates, established journeypersons, and employers are facing transitional realities with respect to timing, earning potential and the regulatory environment.

For more information, contact:

Trent Soholt
Executive Director
Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council

The Labour Market Assessment Construction Sector Study is being conducted by the Nova Scotia Construction Sector Council (NSCSC) in partnership with the Construction Association of Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Construction Labour Relations Association, Mainland Nova Scotia Building Trades, Merit Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton Island Building and Construction Trades Council. This project is funded in part by the Province of Nova Scotia.

Feedback Wanted!

Complete the survey now

The survey is available at: www.novascotiaconstruction.com with links to be included on industry partner socials.

A Final Report of findings from Employers, Employees, Trades Professionals, Apprentices, Students, Business Managers, and Community Partners will be released in late 2024.

In the News

The Todd Veinotte Show: April 9th – Listen: 17:09 – 24:28