The Construction Sector Council (CSC) is a national organization committed to developing a highly skilled work force to support the needs of the construction industry in Canada. Our website has information and resources that will be helpful as you prepare to move to Canada.
As one of Canada’s largest industries, construction plays a vital role in building a better Canada. Our homes, offices and schools; the bridges, roads and sidewalks that we use; the factories that produce food and motor vehicles: all were built and put in place by the men and women who work in the construction industry.
- Working in Construction in Canada
- Construction Labour Market
- Before You Come to Canada
- Preparing to Work in Construction in Canada
- Regulation or Certification
- Finding a Job in Canada
- Additional Resources
Construction employs over a million Canadians who engage in more than 130 billion dollars of work every year. The industry has been growing in recent years and construction employment has risen steadily since 1995. There are over a quarter of a million firms in the construction industry, many of which are quite small.
The construction industry is not only large but also varied. There are four sectors in construction: new home building and renovation (single family and high rise), heavy industrial (factories, such as cement, automotive or power plants), institutional and commercial (stadiums, grain elevators and indoor swimming pools) and civil engineering (highways, dams, water and sewer lines, power and communication lines, and bridges). In each of these sectors, the job opportunities vary by province and territory.
Canada has a long history of partnership between government, business and labour to make fair and safe workplace standards for workers. Standards protect the rights of workers and employers, and encourage a good working relationship between employers and employees. Employers must train employees properly so that they can work safely. Workers in Canada have the right to refuse to do unsafe work. You can find out more about health and safety at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.
While you are waiting to go to Canada, there are many important things you can do to improve your chance for success.
The Foreign Credentials Referral Office is an organization of the Government of Canada that provides you with helpful resources such as the Planning to Work In Canada? workbook and the Working in Canada Tool. Use these resources to find and collect important information and to develop your job search plan.
You will need to prove your language skills in English or French or be tested. You can find information at www.language.ca. If you need to improve your language skills, start before you come to Canada.
Your official education, work and identity documents are important. It is much easier for you to gather and organize your documents while still in your home country.
Verify translation requirements. In some cases, you will have to use a professional translation service in Canada.
Each province or territory is responsible for setting the requirements for jobs in construction. The provincial requirements may differ. Please review the CSC’s careers website which provides an overview of over 55 careers and important resources essential to planning your career.
Workers in most construction trades follow an apprenticeship program and write standard exams to prove their competency. Apprentices work under a journeyperson who is skilled in a specific trade. Apprentices gain work experience and in-school technical training. Electricians, plumbers and welders are examples of workers in apprenticeable trades. Across Canada, there are about 50 different regulated professions and more than 100 apprenticeable trades. Some skilled trades are known as Red Seal trades, which enable workers to work in all provinces and territories. To find out more, go to www.red-seal.ca.
In Canada, there are a number of professions and trades that have compulsory or mandatory certification. To work in these occupations, workers require a recognized trade certificate issued by a provincial government following a certification process.
Non-compulsory or voluntary certification trades are those where the employer decides if the worker has the skills and knowledge necessary to do the job, and certification is available and encouraged, but not a requirement to do the job. The Working in Canada Tool can provide more information on what these terms mean.
Occupations and trades that require compulsory or mandatory certification include:
- Regulated professions
- Some apprenticeable trades
Regulated professions usually require several years of university or college education, practical experience under the supervision of a licensed worker in the chosen profession, and the successful completion of a licensure examination. Professional engineers are an example of workers in regulated professions. It is important to note that provinces and territories sometimes expect different things from their regulated professionals. In some instances, this means that a person licensed in one province may have to re-apply for a licence in order to work in another province or territory.
An important part of finding a job in construction is understanding the labour market. The Construction Forecasts website provides information about the economic environment faced by the construction industry in all Canadian provinces, including information on when and where specific trades and occupations will be in demand over the next ten years.
You may be eligible for a bridging program. Bridging programs ease the transition from your international training and experience to the Canadian workplace. You should research which construction companies, colleges, apprenticeship programs or immigrant-serving organizations have bridging programs.