Canada’s construction sector provides employment to over 1.3 million people and accounts for approximately 7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The most common areas of construction include:
- Residential (single unit, low-rise, high-rise)
- ICI Buildings (institutional, commercial, and industrial)
- Infrastructure (transportation, water, utilities)
- Oil and gas
- LNG (technically part of the oil and gas industry, but separated as it’s a new emerging sector)
Canada’s aging population and general steady economic growth creates strong demand for construction professionals and tradespeople, with the demand for skilled labour consistently outstripping supply. With only around 38 million people living across the world’s second-largest country, Canada continues to depend on international workers to support its construction sector.
So, what are the most in-demand construction jobs in Canada?
- Project Directors – ICI (institutional, commercial and industrial) Buildings & Infrastructure
- Senior Project Managers – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Senior Superintendents – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Commercial Managers & Contracts Managers – Infrastructure
- Senior Estimators – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Design Managers – ICI Buildings & Infrastructure
- Schedulers – Infrastructure
To learn more about typical job titles for construction jobs in Canada, visit this detailed blog from Outpost Recruitment, our sister company which focuses on construction recruitment.
A solid engineering or construction management background provides an excellent technical grounding for construction professionals who wish to pursue a career on the contracting side of the industry. The beautiful thing about construction is that, while a higher education may give you an initial advantage, it’s possible to work your way up the ladder regardless of your level of formal education.
It is important to note that Canada, unlike countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, tends to focus on immigration via permanent residence as opposed to brining in temporary foreign workers on short-term permits. It’s relatively easier to qualify for permanent residence in Canada than in many other countries offering attractive construction work. Don’t worry, there are lots of other options to research if you don’t qualify for permanent residence just yet.
Degrees and qualifications
If you want to come to Canada and work in construction, it will help to have one of the following degrees or qualifications:
- Masters / MBA– holding a Masters or MBA designation is highly favourable for immigration to Canada via economic class programs.
- Degree – favourable qualification level for construction professionals with regard to immigration and employment in Canada.
- Higher Diploma <> B. Tech, Higher National Diploma (HND)
- Trade qualification – This may help you get to Canada via the Federal Skilled Trades Program, one of Canada’s permanent residence programs linked with the Express Entry system.
Engineer in Training (EIT) – once your engineering transcripts have been approved by the provincial engineering body, you may receive this designation.
Professional Engineer (P. Eng.) – For engineers, gaining a P. Eng. designation is less important on the contracting side of the industry, but still highly respected.
Gold Seal Certification (GSC) is a Canadian designation and considered practical for professionals following a career in project management.
Project Management Professional (PMP) – Gaining a Project Manager Professional (PMP) is considered a more suitable global designation for project management professionals.
Chartered Member (MRICS) – Specifically for Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors. An MRICS designation is recognised across Canada.
Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS) – A Canadian designation similar to MRICS, issued to Quantity Surveyors by the Canadian Association of Consulting Quantity Surveyors (CACQS).
Welcome to Outpost Recruitment!
Our sister company, Outpost Recruitment, has been connecting the best international engineering professionals with Canadian employers across civil, infrastructure, and ICI (Institutional, Commercial and Industrial) buildings projects since 2012. Outpost specialises in assisting international candidates relocate to Canada.
Our clients include:
- General Contractors
- Subcontractors (civil, structural, mechanical, electrical, geotechnical)
- Consultants – project delivery, cost consultants
Outpost Recruitment works with leading contractors across infrastructure and buildings to fill the following construction roles in Canada:
- Project Director / Operations Manager
- Project Managers – All Levels (Junior PM to Senior)
- Design Managers
How to move to Canada as a Construction Professional
The great thing about moving to Canada as a construction professional is that there are a multitude of options available to you. In addition, unlike other countries like Australia or the Gulf States, there are work permit categories that don’t require a job offer, and there is a direct, and relatively quick, route to permanent residence (PR), even if you don’t have a job offer and even if you have never lived in Canada before. Canada welcomes construction workers through a variety of PR programs, as well through a range of work permit categories. You can learn more about all these programs, including work permits, the popular IEC program and much more, in a detailed blog from our sister-site, Outpost Recruitment.
Locations to consider
It may be worth reviewing our content below around employment trends in Canada over the past decade. Depending on your sector of choice, you can review your best options with regard to location
- Toronto – The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) includes lots of major suburbs, as well as a downtown core famous for the CN Tower and the ever-increasing number of skyscrapers in its shadow. The GTA is a huge area of more than 6 million people and represents the largest employment market in Canada for construction.
- Vancouver – The Vancouver Lower Mainland area encompasses over 10 cities (municipalities) and has a booming real estate market with a strong pipeline of infrastructure projects.
- Montreal – Quebec’s largest city, and Canada’s second-largest, offers lots of opportunities, but you may need to reconsider if you do not have working knowledge of French.
- Ottawa – Canada’s capital city offers a great quality of life.
- Calgary – Calgary is the home of oil and gas in Canada, and struggling due to low commodity prices and lack of pipelines to bring Canada’s oil to world markets.
- Edmonton – Edmonton is the blue collar town in Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
- Fly-in-Fly-Out (FIFO) – If your goal is to work on remote projects, there are lots of options including LNG, traditional oil and gas, mining or infrastructure projects to choose from. You can live in a major city and commute for your rotation shift.
Let’s quickly examine some historical employment trends in construction across Canada to help you build your knowledge and decide on the right location within Canada.
2009 – 2014: Industrial boom drives demand for international workers across all construction sectors
Canada is a sparsely populated land mass that boasts huge deposits of natural resources. Like Australia, the economy of both countries tend to correlate closely to prices of natural resources with booms and bust patterns in short cycles. Canada is a leading producer of oil, natural gas, copper, gold, silver, zinc, iron, potash, uranium, and molybdenum, among other commodities. The oil sands region in Northern Alberta alone accounts for one third of the world’s oil reserves, but resource deposits can be found across all of Canada’s provinces and territories.
High commodity prices from 2009 to 2014 led to significant investment in both mining and oil and gas projects across Canada. Resource-extraction is labour intensive, so this led to economic booms in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) with workers flocking from all over Canada and from around the world. These provinces experienced population increases during this period, which boosted the local economies of cities such as Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Regina, and Saskatoon. With cities and towns growing across the Prairies, each municipality needed new infrastructure and workers to support the growing population, so the shortage of skilled workers affected many industries, and not just natural resources. In this period, Calgary and Edmonton were competing with Toronto and Vancouver for international workers, as these locations offered more opportunity for economic immigrants and a lower cost of living.
With local and international workers relocating to be part of the booming industrial sector, this in turn created shortages across other areas of construction jobs in Canada. The resource boom attracted foreign workers as economic migrants arrived in search of opportunity. Fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) workers arrived at Fort McMurray from all over the world to be part of the oil sands boom. Employers in Vancouver and Toronto were losing some of their workforce to the industrial sector and needed international workers to fill the gaps, so the labour shortage intensified. This demand was evidenced by Canadian companies organizing international recruitment drives during these years as skills shortages occurred across all construction. The local supply of labour was insufficient to meet demand, so employers were able to gain permission to sponsor foreign workers to meet their labour needs. High oil prices caused a surge in construction of oil and gas plants. Local Canadian workers were flocking to higher paid roles in the resource sector and this created demand for international workers to fill their places all over Canada.
2015 onwards: Infrastructure boom
Lower commodity prices since 2014 have meant cooling labour markets in the Prairies provinces, with declining investment in resource projects and economic stagnation in the Prairie provinces. Since the slowdown of the industrial sector, Canada has invested heavily in infrastructure programs across the country, and this has helped absorb many workers coming from the resource sector. Since 2014, demand for international workers has decreased as Canada’s focus has been on absorbing local Canadian workers into other sectors. This has meant employer sponsorship is less common than previously, but international workers who obtain temporary work permits or permanent residency continue to find opportunities in Canada.
The net impact of these changes is that international workers are now focusing more on the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. Toronto, Ontario and Vancouver, British Columbia, now represent more stable destinations for international workers as the economies of both cities are bouyed by tourism, film, and IT, with strong foreign investment making them less dependent on resource prices. Both locations have strong residential, institutional, and commercial construction sectors, with plenty of infrastructure activity as populations continue to grow.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is both a health and economic crisis, and it is clear that Canada’s construction industry will feel the impacts of COVID-19 in the years to come. Fortunately, a commitment to infrastructure spending as a cornerstone of economic recovery appears to be lessening some of initial shockwaves of the pandemic on the construction sector. You can keep updated on all the latest developments regarding COVID-19 in Canada here.
Our sister company, Outpost Recruitment, has been connecting the best international construction professionals with Canadian employers across civil, infrastructure and ICI buildings projects for over five years.
If you would like to explore opportunities to work in Canada’s construction sector, visit Outpost Recruitment to register and research open job opportunities.
Demand for construction trades is likely to remain high. According to BuildForce Canada, the industry needs to recruit 309,000 new construction workers over the next decade (2021 – 2030), driven by the expected retirement of 259,100 workers (or 22% of the current workforce).How can I work as a construction worker in Canada? ›
Register as an apprentice and combine on-the-job training with in-class learning. Enroll for post-secondary training at a university, community college or technical institute and study for the construction career of your choice.Can I move to Canada as a construction worker? ›
It is absolutely possible to become a construction worker in Canada from another country as long as you can prove your experience and expertise. There are three main sectors in Canada's construction industry: Residential construction. Non-Residential construction.How much do construction workers get paid in Canada? ›
The average construction worker salary in Canada is $42,900 per year or $22 per hour. Entry-level positions start at $37,050 per year, while most experienced workers make up to $58,023 per year.Do construction workers make good money in Canada? ›
The national average salary for a Construction Worker is $49,092 in Canada. Filter by location to see Construction Worker salaries in your area. Salary estimates are based on 372 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by Construction Worker employees. How accurate does $49,092 look to you?What kind of workers does Canada need? ›
- Electrical Engineer.
- Aerospace Engineer.
- Software Engineer.
- Human Resources Manager.
- Web Developer.
- Financial Advisor.
Foreign nationals looking to work in or visit Canada may need to get a work permit, a visitor visa or both to enter Canada. There are temporary and permanent immigration programs that you may be eligible to apply for.Which province in Canada is best for construction? ›
Saskatchewan is Canada's best-kept secret for the construction industry: it leads in residential construction for all of Canada.
Normally, you must apply for a work permit before you enter the country. In some cases, foreign nationals can apply at the border. Due to COVID-19, we're temporarily allowing visitors to apply online for a work permit from inside Canada.Can a US contractor work in Canada? ›
For example, if you are a contractor from the US contracting in Canada, you still have to pay US self-employment taxes on your income, which covers social security. You could get a credit in Canada for those amounts and avoid double payment.
Unless your job is exempt from a work permit, you must receive a permit to work in Canada. Unfortunately, this rule applies to US citizens just like other applicants. However, you may apply for a work permit at a port of entry.Can I just move to Canada and get a job? ›
Yes, in fact, obtaining a temporary work permit in Canada is often seen as a step towards permanent residence in Canada. People who already have an active temporary work permit in Canada have several ways to move from temporary work permit to permanent residence, including applying under Express Entry Programs.What benefits do construction workers get in Canada? ›
Benefits, such as paid vacation, sick days, health insurance, medical and or dental plan, pension plan, etc., are sometimes made available to an employee by an employer. An employee does not normally have the ability to hire and send their own replacement; they normally must render the services personally.How much does it cost to live in Canada? ›
A family of four estimated monthly costs are 3,621.9$ (4,767.2C$) without rent. A single person estimated monthly costs are 1,013.2$ (1,333.5C$) without rent. Cost of living in Canada is, on average, 7.9% lower than in United States. Rent in Canada is, on average, 26.6% lower than in United States.What is the most paid job in construction? ›
- 1) Senior Project Manager.
- 2) Architect.
- 3) Civil Engineer.
- 4) Construction Manager.
- 5) Heavy Construction Equipment Supervisor.
- 6) Construction Estimator.
- 7) Construction Inspector.
- 8) Civil Engineering Technologist.
- Surgeon – $350,000 to $450,000.
- Anesthesiologist – $300,000 to $400,000.
- Physician (specialist and general) – $150,000 to $350,000.
- Psychiatrist – $200,000 to $300,000.
- Lawyer– $100,000 to $250,000.
- Corporate Treasurer – $120,000 to $200,000.
- Banker – $100,000 to $200,000.
From a business's perspective, hiring a contractor is much preferred to hiring an employee because means a lot less paperwork and responsibility. Contractors don't receive benefits packages or pensions. They must pay their own Canada Pension Plan CPP/QPP contributions.Which work is best for earning money in Canada? ›
- PETROLEUM ENGINEER.
- IT MANAGER.
- MARKETING MANAGER.
- SALES MANAGER.
Although it isn't easy to land a job in Canada from abroad, with sufficient research and preparation, you should be able to get your dream job in Canada from the U.S.How can I get a job in Canada easily? ›
- Search for open positions and recruitment companies online. ...
- Network with professionals who immigrated to Canada. ...
- Ensure you meet linguistic proficiency standards. ...
- Consider visiting employers in-person. ...
- Gain professional experience by volunteering.
According to current immigration targets, Canada is aiming to welcome 465,000 immigrants in 2023, 485,000 newcomers in 2024 and a milestone 500,000 new Canadian permanent residents in 2025. Seeing all these significant numbers, you may wonder: why is Canada accepting so many new immigrants?How long can a US citizen live in Canada? ›
Most visitors can stay for up to 6 months in Canada. If you're allowed to enter Canada, the border services officer may allow you to stay for less or more than 6 months. If so, they'll put the date you need to leave by in your passport.Can I work in Canada with US green card? ›
U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) can lose their immigration status while living and working outside the United States, even if they visit the country often. Once immigrants have received a green card, they typically want to keep U.S. residency and have the ability to travel abroad.Who can sponsor me to work in Canada? ›
- a close living relative she could sponsor instead (such as a spouse, partner, child, orphaned sibling, parent or grandparent) and.
- any other relative such as an aunt who is a citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian of Canada.
- By Thomas Watt. Monster Contributing Writer.
- Boom Town Canada.
- Workers Wanted.
- 1) Newfoundland and Labrador. In my opinion this 'have not' province will remove that 'not' very soon. ...
- 2) Winnipeg Winding Up. ...
- 3) La Belle Province Just Got Beller. ...
- 4) Prairie Rising.
- Sales Representative. Sales Representatives, also known as sales associates, remain one of the most in-demand jobs in Canada in 2023. ...
- Transport Driver. ...
- Receptionist. ...
- Welder. ...
- Web Developer. ...
- Business Development Officer. ...
- Day Labourer. ...
- Software Engineer.
Ontario is by far the most popular province for new immigrants coming to Canada. In 2021, Ontario received about half of all new Canadian permanent residents. Ontario's most popular city is also the largest in Canada.How much money is required for work permit in Canada? ›
How much does a Canadian work permit cost? The processing fee for a closed work permit is $155 CAD per person or $255 per person for an open work permit. If you are restoring a work permit or applying as a group of performing artists, additional fees will apply.Can I work remotely in Canada as a US citizen? ›
Whether you have a remote job in Canada or not, or go to the office every day if you are not a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen, you will need a work permit to be legally employed by a Canadian company.What is the fastest way to get a work permit in Canada? ›
- a medical exam (if needed) Find out if you need a medical exam and book it before you apply so you can include it with your application.
- police certificates (check your local visa office requirements)
- certified translations of documents that aren't in English or French.
- processing fees.
Canadian freelancers or independent contractors with an American client/work with a US company are exempt from paying US taxes. As you are a self-employed worker in the eyes of the CRA, you still must report all income in your tax return no matter where your clients are located.Do you need a license to be a contractor in Canada? ›
There are numerous certificates of qualification, business licenses, and permits required to work in construction in Canada. License requirements are provincially mandated. Cities like Toronto require building renovators and building contractors to apply for a permit or license as well.Can a non U.S. citizen work as a contractor? ›
All immigrants regardless of legal status are able to earn a living as independent contractors, or start a business using an ITIN or SSN. An independent contractor must pay self-employment tax and income tax. An independent contractor may use an ITIN to file and pay taxes instead of a SSN.How much is rent in Canada? ›
The national average rent last month was $2,005 – an increase of more than 12 per cent compared with December 2021, according to Rentals. ca's January 2023 Rent Report. Vancouver remains the most expensive city to rent in Canada, with the average price of a one-bedroom unit at $2,596 per month.How much money do you need to immigrate to Canada? ›
|Number of family members||Funds required (in Canadian dollars)||Amount in INR*|
For real estate investors, looking to Canada can diversify one's portfolio of properties and generate an alternative source of rental income. U.S. residents can own property in Canada without becoming a resident of Canada, but must report income or proceeds from a sale to both country's taxing authorities.Is it worth moving to Canada from USA? ›
The three biggest virtues the Canadian society offers its new immigrants are – an excellent public health care system, high quality of living, and the lowest crime rates. These reasons make Canada your first choice.Can Americans move to Canada without a job? ›
Moving to Canada without a job offer can be challenging, but it is possible. Here are some ways to Canada Immigration without a job offer: Express Entry: Express Entry is a point-based system for skilled workers who want to move to Canada permanently.How can I move to Canada from the US without a job? ›
There are several immigration programs available that don't require a job offer, like Family Sponsorship, the Express Entry program, and the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Learning how to immigrate to Canada without a job offer can be a simple and easy-to-follow process.What country pays construction workers the most? ›
Switzerland Pays the Highest Salary for Construction Workers
In addition to its attractive salary, it may be relatively easy for migrant workers to take up employment opportunities because a solid majority of 64.8% of the country's construction workforce are migrants.
As of Jun 19, 2023, the average hourly pay for an Union Construction Laborer in Ontario is $48,659 an hour.How much does a construction worker make in Ontario? ›
The average pay for a Construction Worker is $59,080 a year and $28 an hour in Ontario, Canada.Is it cheaper to live in Canada or USA? ›
Overall, Canada is more affordable than the US, but the US has a higher median income. Comparing the cost of living in both countries is tricky because living costs vary dramatically within each city. It's important to consider the hidden costs and savings of public goods and services when comparing costs of living.How much is rent in Canada in US dollars? ›
For a one-bedroom apartment in an expensive neighborhood, you can expect to pay about USD$1,600-$1,950 per month. Outside the city center, a three-bedroom goes for $2,040-$2,500 per month.What's the minimum wage in Canada? ›
Special minimum wage rates
For example, the minimum wage requirements in Ontario, set out in the province's Employment Standards Act as of October 1, 2022, differ for the following categories: General minimum wage: $15.50 per hour. Student minimum wage: $14.60 per hour.
- Bricklayers (82%)
- Carpenters (85%)
- Cement masons (79%)
- Concrete workers (87%)
- Drywall and other materials installers (83%)
- Electricians (79%)
- Glaziers (70%)
- Heavy equipment operators (83%)
- Be Selective with Projects. ...
- Have the Right Team in Place. ...
- Network to Build Relationships. ...
- Create Word-of-Mouth Referrals. ...
- Reduce Bonding Costs. ...
- Get a Contractor's License. ...
- Cut out Waste. ...
- Invest in the Business.
Some millionaires, however, trace their fortunes to their time working as plumbers, farmers, construction workers, bus drivers and janitors. Here's a look at the millionaires who built their fortunes on the foundation of the high-paying manual labor jobs that got them started.Is Canada having a worker shortage? ›
The Statistics Canada analysis finds there are no labour shortages for jobs that require high levels of education, suggesting other factors, such as a mismatch in skills and pay, might be to blame for a high number of empty positions.Where are construction workers needed the most? ›
- Ohio — 171,950.
- Virginia — 166,280.
- Washington — 165,750.
- Michigan — 144,770.
- Georgia — 140,930.
- Colorado — 137,060.
- Arizona — 135,000.
- Massachusetts — 127,940.
Despite the growing demand for new housing, construction productivity in Canada has remained relatively stagnant, with an average growth rate of only 1.3% per year. The construction industry in Canada is facing a major shortage of skilled workers, with nearly 200,000 positions remaining unfilled.Why is it so hard to get a job in Canada? ›
No, in general, it's hard to find a job in Canada as an immigrant. This is because Canadians want you to have previous work experience in Canada before you are recruited for a position.Why is it so hard to find employees right now in Canada? ›
Boomers are exiting the workforce in droves, leaving more job vacancies than there are people to fill them. Canada is in the throes of a serious labour shortage, but economists say it's not all the pandemic's fault — it's the inevitable culmination of a seismic demographic shift decades in the making.Which skills are shortage in Canada? ›
|Skill Shortage Occupations||Average Salary|
Accountants, bookkeepers, and CPAs are one of the most in demand professions in Canada. They are currently so in demand that you may be able to use the Canadian Immigration Express Entry System to immigrate to Canada if you qualify for a job within this profession.What opportunities are open to Canada? ›
- Developer (NOC 21232) ...
- HR Manager (NOC 10011) ...
- Mechanical Engineer (NOC 21301) ...
- Welder (NOC 72106) ...
- Accounting Technician/Bookkeeper (NOC 12200) ...
- Registered Nurse (NOC 31301) ...
- Warehouse Worker (NOC 75101) ...
- Customer Service Representative (NOC 64409) (NOC 64400)
- Food service supervisors.
- Software engineers.
- Administrative assistants.
- Computer programmers and interactive media developers.
- Information systems analysts and consultants.
- Hawaii: $70,750.
- Illinois: $68,940.
- Alaska: $66,430.
- New York: $66,390.
- Massachusetts: $65,520.
- New Jersey: $64,560.
- Washington: $63,660.
- California: $61,400.
- Heavy equipment operator. National average salary : $24.08 per hour. ...
- Mason. National average salary: $24.96 per hour. ...
- Ironworker. National average salary: $25.17 per hour. ...
- Electrician. National average salary: $25.88 per hour. ...
- Plumber. ...
- Pipefitter. ...
- Construction inspector. ...
- Building Engineer.
The construction industry's outlook for labor is bleak. In order to meet demand, contractors will need to hire an estimated 546,000 workers in 2023, and that's in addition to the industry's normal pace of hiring, according to a new analysis by Associated Builders and Contractors.
TORONTO, June 1 (Reuters) - Canada's residential construction activity has slowed in recent months due to a tight labor market and higher borrowing costs, a factor that could thwart government plans to reduce a housing shortfall and add to the recovery in home prices.What is the trend in construction in Canada? ›
According to Statistics Canada, the total value of investment in residential buildings fell by 5.1% year on year (YoY) in 2022, with single dwelling construction falling by 6.4% and multiple dwelling construction falling by 3.5%.What are the fastest growing construction companies in Canada? ›
Canada's largest engineering and construction companies are CIMA+ Dessau, EllisDon, Golder, PCL Construction, and SNC-Lavalin. Here, you can find the complete list of Canada's fastest-growing Construction companies for 2023 and the Biggest Civil Engineering Companies in Canada.