The following is an excerpt of a piece that ran in Building Magazine on August 23, 2021:

The key will be to get more of these immigrants into the skilled trades, like construction, which is facing a shortage of more than 300,000 workers by 2030 due to retirements and increased demand, according to a BuildForce Canada report.

“There’s no magic bullet here,” said Chris Gardner, president of the Surrey, B.C.-based Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), which represents more than 3,300 members in the construction sector. “Immigration is a fundamental part of the long-term solution to this challenge.”

Gardner believes the big infrastructure projects will still get built, but the worker shortage is having other ancillary effects such as scheduling issues, with contractors turning down smaller projects as well as soaring wages.

“In B.C., the average construction trade worker (salary) outpaced the rate of inflation two times in the last five years,” confessed Gardner, who added that even during the pandemic wages merely flatlined instead of declining due to the demand for workers.