January 14, 2013
What will be the biggest challenge of 2013?
The Journal of Commerce asked members of its Editorial Advisory Board what they think will be the biggest challenge for the industry in 2013. Here are their responses.
Anibal Valente | PCL Constructors Westcoast Inc.
"The continuing shortage of skilled trades in the construction industry will only get worse as the shipbuilding, oil & gas, mining and other industries ramp up with their developments."
Bill Stewart | Merit Alberta
"Having the necessary skilled tradespeople at the right time and right place continues to be the biggest challenge facing Canada’s construction industry."
Dan Mott |Mott Electric
"If the economy remains strong and isn’t impacted by world economic turbulence then we should see continued growth with a shortage of skilled workers being the only limitation. Another concern is the opposition to significant industrial projects as well as the uncertainty surrounding a pending election."
Jack Davidson | B.C. Road Builders
"Our challenge is to communicate the need for sustained investment in transportation infrastructure. The public may look at recent accomplishments and think we’re done, but continued development and rehabilitation is essential. Strategic investment in core infrastructure supports a growing economy and creates jobs."
Grant McMillan | COCA
"A big challenge is the growth in the average duration of workers’ compensation claims, from an average of 50 days off per claim to 73 days off per claim. We need better claim management and faster return to work."
Keith Sashaw | VRCA president
"We are going to see shortages of skilled labour that will make the early 2000s look like a cake walk. Contractors will have to pay attention to where they are going to find the workforce required to meet the demand."
Manley McLachlan | BCCA
"It’s the demand to demonstrate all elements of our value proposition, including our award winning service streams, Employee Benefits, Skilled Trades Employment Program, SkillCentral, Foreign Skilled Worker Program, Bid Central, On line Bidding for Subtrades, and effective advocacy work on standards and practices."
Norm Streu | LMS Steel
"Continued volatility in the steel markets will be a challenge. Our customers rarely appreciate the substantial risk we take in fixing pricing over the duration of a project. In a low-margin environment, we have precious little room to absorb the kind of volatility we have been experiencing."
Philip Hochstein | ICBA
"The provincial election in 2013 is the biggest risk to confidence. The NDP plan to massively increase spending and tilt labour laws in favour of unionization. These moves would shatter confidence and would lead to investments in construction drying up."
Don Schouten | WorkSafeBC
"In 2013, the continued challenge is to keep safety at the top of mind for those working in the construction industry. As we look at bringing in workers to cover the skilled trade worker shortage, we must remember it is important that all workers — regardless of their skill level — be trained and equipped to work safely."
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