Following a blockbuster 2023, Local 793 members can look forward to another busy year, with a $200 billion project pipeline helping to fuel positivity among contractors.

That was the main message to come out of the Ontario Construction Secretariat’s (OCS) annual State of the Industry and Outlook Conference, which took place at the International Centre in Mississauga on March 7.

The OCS represents the collective interests of the unionized construction industry in Ontario’s industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) construction sector. Local 793 President and Assistant Business Manager, Dave Turple, is one of seven labour representatives on the OCS board. Local 793 Executive Board member and ICI, Heavy Civil and Landscaping Sector Coordinator Jordan Glendenning represented Local 793 at the event.

A host of industry experts spoke at the event, including BMO Canada senior economist Robert Kavcic and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) president and CEO Michael Lindsay.

Lindsay reported that IO is overseeing $42 billion worth of projects currently under construction across the province, with a further 31 projects in pre or active procurement, valued at $35 billion.

“No jurisdiction is doing more building than we are here in Ontario,” he said.

That claim was backed up by the findings of the OCS’s 2024 Contractor Survey, which was released alongside the conference and showed that 71% of unionized contractors reported having a positive outlook for the year ahead. That figure fell to 64% among non-union contractors.

However, given the strength of 2023, it is not surprising that the report also found expectations for this year have cooled slightly when compared to 12 months earlier, with employers pointing to higher interest rates and material costs and a shortage of skilled labour as being of particular concern.

When broken down by region, contractors working in northern Ontario proved to be the most optimistic about the year ahead, with 31% saying they expect to handle more work this year. This compares to a province-wide average of 26%.

Operating Engineers can expect to be in high demand in 2024, with 34% of contractors intending to increase hiring. There was good news, too, for those members starting their careers with Local 793, with 78% of unionized contractors employing apprentices, compared to just 50% of non-union firms.

CLICK HERE to download a copy of the 2024 Contractor Survey.

OCS conference attendees heard how a $200 billion project pipeline points to more growth in the ICI construction sector.
Infrastructure Ontario CEO Michael Lindsay addresses the OCS conference.