What you need to know about Toronto’s roofing shortage
Toronto’s skyrocketing demand for residential roofs is creating a shortage of workers for the city’s largest city’s biggest construction companies, according to new figures from the province’s Ministry of Labour.
The province estimates there are now about 30,000 vacant and unoccupied positions for Toronto’s three major construction firms: Canopy Growth, which has the most construction contracts, and Ryerson, which is second.
It’s an issue that’s not just a Toronto problem, said Paul Johnson, president of the Construction and Construction Trades Council of Canada.
“It’s a national problem,” he said.
He’s hopeful the government will take action soon to help.
TTC is currently reviewing its procurement rules for roofing, but it has said the city needs to start hiring at least 80,000 new workers by 2020.
Johnson said the province should take action to ensure more workers are hired.
While Toronto is one of the most expensive cities for building, Johnson said Toronto is doing well.
Last year, the city earned an estimated $7.4 billion in government spending, including $2.6 billion for the TTC and $1.3 billion for transit projects.
But the provincial government has promised to spend about $1 billion on a new subway, and Johnson said it could be another $1 or $2 billion by 2020 to get the city out of its housing crisis.
There are two other companies that are in the market for new workers, but only Canopy has announced plans to hire workers.
In a recent report to the Toronto Board of Trade, the two firms said they were working to hire up to 5,000 construction workers over the next two years.
And the two companies are competing against each other to recruit new workers.
The Toronto region’s two largest companies, Canopy and Ryyer, have announced plans in recent months to hire 10,000 workers each.
Canopy said the new hiring spree would help fill jobs that are currently filled by part-time workers.
Ryyer said it was targeting 5,500 construction workers by the end of next year.
If the province does not act soon, it could affect thousands of jobs across the city, said Michael Wiens, director of public affairs at Ryyer Construction, which operates the Canopy headquarters.
Ryyer’s workers will be paid about $10 an hour more than the city and could be paid as much as $25 an hour, said Wiens.
As Toronto builds more housing, demand for construction workers is expected to rise.
A report this year from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found Toronto has the third-highest unemployment rate in the country and the highest cost of living.
According to the report, one in six Toronto workers will face unemployment at some point in their lives.
Many construction workers have been looking for jobs in recent years.
Last year, construction workers and their unions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Construction Association, launched a national campaign calling on the province to create a new national minimum wage for construction jobs.
New York City and Los Angeles have also set their sights on establishing a national minimum and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022.