State of the Industry

There are more than 260,000 firms in the Canadian construction industry: over 65,000 in residential construction and 150,000 in the trade contracting industry. The industry accounts for 12% of Canada’s GDP. Construction workers are involved in the installation, repair or renovation of more than $150 billion worth of work every year.

Three key factors define the structure and performance of the construction industry.

Cyclical activity

Construction is one of Canada’s most cyclical industries, subject to massive and unpredictable swings in demand. The construction industry is three times as volatile as the service sector and nearly 50 percent more volatile than the manufacturing sector.

Geographic diversity

Construction projects are spread evenly across the country in direct proportion to demographic and economic factors.

Strong local presence

Construction is a site-specific activity, requiring hands-on management and knowledge of local labour conditions and regulations. Government policies encourage growth of localized construction industries.

The industry has evolved into small, specialized companies that are able to operate successfully in a feast-or-famine market environment. Firms maintain little overhead and expand and contract their operations in response to changing business conditions. The need for a strong local presence has resulted in the industry being primarily Canadian owned and controlled.

Construction Types

Residential

Residential construction includes family homes, condominiums, and apartment buildings. Growth is driven primarily by demographic factors, disposable incomes, and interest rates.

Institutional, commercial, and industrial

All non-residential buildings—including factories, hospitals, shopping malls, offices, and manufacturing plants—fall under the umbrella of institutional, commercial, and industrial construction. The strength of the goods and services sector and demand for institutional services affect growth in this branch of the industry.

Engineering

Non-building projects such as roads, pipelines, and oil and gas facilities are considered engineering construction. This sector is influenced primarily by government infrastructure spending and the natural resource industry.

Government’s Role

All orders of government affect the trades, as both a regulator and a property owner. Government-funded institutions account for one third of non-residential construction activity, and are heavily involved in engineering construction for infrastructure needs.

Federal regulation

The Canadian government develops model national building codes for construction and establishes the parameters for federal environmental assessments.

Provincial regulation

The Government of Saskatchewan establishes the provincial construction codes, labour standards, environmental regulations, and parameters for municipal zoning regulations.

Municipal regulation

The many municipal governments in Saskatchewan—urban and rural—set their own zoning requirements, approve building applications, issue building permits, and conduct building inspections.

Construction Opportunities Development Council (CODC)

The CODC was created in March 1994 by the Building Trades and contractor association CLR Construction Labour Relations Inc. The CODC works on innovative approaches to improving the sometimes-difficult relationships between unions and contractors in Saskatchewan’s construction industry.

Jointly owned and operated by Saskatchewan Building Trades and CLR, the CODC is co-chaired by:

  • Dion Malakoff, Executive Director—Saskatchewan Building Trades; and
  • Warren Douglas, President—CLR Construction Labour Relations Association of Saskatchewan

All of the Saskatchewan building trades unions and corresponding employer trade divisions are members of CODC.

Submit a Resume

We are committed to helping our future and current tradespeople in finding employment in the construction and maintenance industry.

By submitting your resume, we will be able to coordinate interviews and placements when employment opportunities become available. As the CODC is an industry association that is made up of numerous employers and unions, we do not hire tradespeople directly. Instead, we work with a number of different partners and programs in promoting the unionized construction industry in Saskatchewan.

Mission

To develop and maintain a partnership comprising clients, unions and members, and contractors and employers which will create mutually beneficial business and employment opportunities.

To recognize the value and skills of our employees by working towards an accident/incident free work environment and by empowering individuals to be creative, innovative, and productive.

Goals

  • Fundamental change in the labour-management relationship
  • Improved multi-directional communications
  • Constructive collective bargaining process
  • Joint labour-management initiatives
  • Joint training programs
  • Joint workplace programs
  • Equity group initiatives
  • Joint industry relations
  • Joint market initiatives

See more on the CODC’s work on their website, what’s been achieved on the Activities Page, and learn more about the opportunities through the Work With the Pros Campaign.

Activities

The Construction Opportunities Development Council (CODC) began as a two-year project to improve the relationship between labour and management by opening communications, identifying customer needs, developing and implementing training programs, and communicating with industry stakeholders.

Since then, the CODC has been proof that cooperation works in our industry.

Notable Accomplishments
Improved Labour Management Partnership

Strong leadership from both parties and the willingness to approach the initiative with a positive attitude has helped overcome the historical relationship of confrontation and distrust.

Increased Industry Stakeholder Participation

Extended beyond union business managers and senior employer representatives to include construction customers, executive board members of unions, additional and differing levels of employer representatives, and government personnel.

Improved Safety Awareness and Practices

Jointly developed a workplace safety program that benefits tradespeople through safe working conditions and helps contractors and customers maintain cost controls.
Through the CODC we also developed an Alcohol and Drug Policy, based on national standards. It was created first in 2006, and was last updated in 2018.

Improved Industry Supervisory Skills

CODC purchased the Saskatchewan Rights to “Better SuperVision” training, developed by the Alberta Provincial Construction & Building Trades Council and Construction Labour Relations Alberta. This course has been delivered to hundreds of supervisors since it was introduced in Saskatchewan.

Some of the most important initiatives that CODC has developed to benefit employees, employers and project owners are:

  • conferences;
  • bargaining;
  • issues facilitation;
  • owner/client forums;
  • market surveys; and
  • trade and apprenticeship promotion and recruitment.

See all the details on the CODC’s work on their website.

Work with the Pros Campaign

Looking for a challenge? Reward? A long-term, satisfying career? Here’s your chance to make something great, to take pride in your work, to say: “Hey, I built that.”

Careers in building trades are opening up like never before. So, why not go with the best? Find a great career with the building trades and employers represented by the Construction Opportunities Development Council—leaders in the industry.

With the highest percentage of apprentices, strong support for your training, and a stellar safety record, some of the very best long-term and stable career opportunities are with our trades: organized/unionized employers and workers who mean business. We’ll help you go further.

Tradespersons from Saskatchewan’s building trades and employers are available to talk to you about their specialty, or to connect you with employment and apprenticeship training within the organized construction industry.

There are a lot of options out there, and it’s not always clear where to start. We can help.

For additional information contact the Saskatchewan Building Trades, and be sure to visit the Work With the Pros.