Ontario is in a time of economic uncertainty, but the province’s construction industry should see steady growth for at least the next few years.

That’s the assessment of Rosemary Sparks, executive director of the Construction Sector Council of Canada.

Sparks told a meeting of the provincial building trades in Niagara Falls that Ontario’s construction industry lost about 30,000 jobs during the recent economic downturn, but the numbers have now been recovered.

She expects the unemployment rate in construction will hover around seven per cent over the next few years. Presently, it is just over six per cent.

She said construction projects coming on stream will result in “steady investment” growth for Ontario at least through 2015.

Though the industry may slow slightly in 2012, it will pick up again, she said.

In the north, the industry is being driven by mining and utilities projects. In the south, nuclear plant refurbishments and the Windsor-Essex Parkway Project are creating work. In eastern Ontario, a light rail transit project in Ottawa is expected to provide employment, and in the GTA work on utilities and Pan Am Games projects will provide work.

Much of the growth, according to Sparks, will be in the engineering sector due to mining projects.

Meanwhile, approximately 85,000 new construction jobs are expected to be created over the next nine years in Ontario – 55,000 of them in the GTA.

Due to the number of retirements expected, Sparks said up to 100,000 more construction workers will be needed over the next nine years.