Provincial economic growth is expected to hover around two per cent both this year and next, according to a report released recently by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS).

That figure is essentially in line with average growth since 2000.

The report looks at economic data and building permit values in each region of the province. It suggests that interest rates will likely remain low for some time and that there will be increased industrial investment.

The report also sums up comments made by speakers at a recent state of the industry and outlook conference sponsored by the OCS.

Katherine Jacobs, director of research and analysis at the OCS, is forecasting that 2012 will turn out to be a positive year for commercial and industrial construction while it will likely be a lower year for the institutional sector because stimulus programs have ended.

Doug Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO, indicated that Ontario’s economy will grow at a moderate pace over the next few years, there will be a soft landing for Canada’s housing markets, interest rates will remain low and the dollar will stay strong.

Christine Kaszycki, assistant deputy minister for the Ring of Fire Secretariat, said the area northeast of Thunder Bay has the potential to become one of the most significant mineral developments in Ontario in over a century.

She said huge opportunities exist for the trades in mining-related and infrastructure work as mining developments in the Ring of Fire come on stream.

Mike McCann, general manager of strategic projects at Vale, noted that the company plans to invest $3.4 billion at its Ontario operations over the next few years. He said there would be heavy demand for the skilled trades this year, peaking at close to 2,000 workers in 2013/2014.

The OCS report lists the top 10 construction projects started this year. They are:

  • $1.75 billion – Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto
  • $1.45 billion – Detour Lake Gold Mine Restart and Mill Addition in Cochrane
  • $305 million – Erieau Windfarm in Blenheim
  • $250 million – Durham York Waste-to-Energy Centre in Durham
  • $238 million – Ashbridges Bay Maintenance and Storage Facility in Toronto
  • $189 million – Go Transit Weston Tunnel Upgrade Separation in York Region
  • $150 million – Port Hope Solid Waste Management Facility in Clarington
  • $119 million – Fraser Morgan Nickel/Copper Mine in Onaping Falls
  • $107 million – Burlington Skyway Wastewater Treatment Plant in Burlington
  • $80 million – Ivaco Rolling Mills Steel Mill Expansion in L’Orignal