Embracing Innovation: How Proper Training and Certification Open Doors for Skilled Workers in Canada’s Future-Focused Construction Industry


Canada’s construction industry is in the midst of a technology-driven transformation, adopting innovative techniques and materials that are changing the nature of construction work. This evolution is creating new opportunities for skilled workers who get proper training and certification in emerging methods and equipment. As the industry focuses on building the infrastructure of the future, getting accredited in forward-looking skills can empower workers to access meaningful, stable and well-paying careers.

The Canadian construction industry employs over 1.4 million Canadians working to build a better Canada with new technologies, great ideas, and a diverse workforce. With more than 20% of the construction workforce retiring over the next decade, the industry is seeking a tech-savvy and creative workforce to build the connected communities of the future. The adoption of new technologies and ways of working could have significant economic and social impacts across Canada.

The Impact of Technology on Canada’s Construction Sector

Recent data shows just how quickly new technologies are being integrated into Canada’s construction sites. Spending on construction machinery and equipment has steadily risen, reaching $7.8 billion in 2021 according to Statistics Canada. Much of this investment is going towards equipment for digital fabrication, robotic automation, modular building, and sustainable materials. For example, demand has grown for automated bricklaying machines that use robotics to construct walls faster and more precisely than is possible manually.

The adoption of digital modeling and collaboration platforms is also accelerating. The proportion of construction firms adopting Building Information Modeling (BIM) software rose from 23% in 2007 to over 55% by 2021. 70% of contractors report using smartphone apps to manage projects. Spending on construction-focused drone technology grew by 425% between 2017 and 2021.

All of these innovations are transforming how buildings and infrastructure are designed and constructed across the country. A survey by Dodge Data & Analytics found that 73% of Canadian contractors expect to increasingly incorporate offsite prefabrication over the next five years. The modular construction market is forecasted to grow to 15% of the overall Canadian construction sector by 2025. Green building technologies like solar panels, smart glass, and photocatalytic coatings are also becoming mainstream.

How Training and Certification Empower Skilled Workers

These industry changes require construction workers to constantly gain new skills and expertise. Getting certified in emerging methods and technologies gives skilled tradespeople a competitive edge when accessing in-demand roles. By investing in training and certification programs, we can create a skilled workforce that can drive economic growth and innovation. For example, carpenters who pursue training in modular construction and offsite fabrication will be qualified for more prefabrication jobs as the practice expands. Obtaining accreditation in sustainable materials positions contractors to work on environmentally advanced green building projects.

Some key certifications that skilled workers should consider include:

Proper training gives workers hands-on experience with new equipment, materials and approaches before actually implementing them on the job site. It empowers them to meet the needs of the future instead of relying on outdated techniques.

  • Digital construction skills programs, which train workers on newly adopted platforms like BIM software, 3D laser scanning for modelling, VR/AR visualization tools, drones for surveying and mapping, and digital collaboration apps. These can be obtained through community colleges and industry groups like the Canadian Construction Association (CCA).
  • Modular building accreditation, which covers offsite construction techniques, just-in-time logistics, crane/rigging operations, and integration of prefab components on site. Organizations like the Modular Building Institute offer pan-Canadian certification.
  • Sustainable construction credentials like LEED, Passive House, and Net Zero from groups like CaGBC. These train workers on energy modelling, high-efficiency materials, renewable energy integration and other green building best practices.
  • Trade-specific technologies, such as architectural prefabrication for ironworkers from the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust, nano-coating application for painters from the Finishing Trades Institute, and CNC fabrication for carpenters from technical training centers.

How Immigrants Can Bridge the Skills Gap

For new Canadians and immigrants with existing construction experience, developing local Canadian credentials helps them fill the skills gap as the industry evolves. While immigrants often possess the core competencies required in trades like masonry, carpentry, electrical and plumbing, they may lack specific familiarity with modern methods used in Canada.

Getting certified in the latest techniques, codes and regulations helps immigrant workers quickly integrate into the Canadian construction field. Employers often favor candidates who proactively pursue local accreditation, seeing it as a signal that they understand industry needs and best practices here in Canada.

Promoting Inclusivity and Support for Skilled Workers and Immigrants

To promote inclusivity and support for skilled workers and immigrants, we can encourage the following actions:

  1. Accessible Training Programs: Training programs should be accessible to all, regardless of their background or circumstances. This includes offering language support, financial assistance, and flexible scheduling.
  2. Mentorship Programs: Mentorship programs can provide skilled workers and immigrants with guidance, support, and valuable insights into the construction industry.
  3. Apprenticeship Programs: Apprenticeship programs can provide hands-on training, practical skills, and a pathway to long-term employment in the construction industry.
  4. Technology Training: With the increasing use of technology in the construction industry, training programs should include technology training to equip workers with the necessary skills to succeed in this new landscape.

Embracing Innovation Opens Doors

Canada’s construction sector is undergoing an evolution driven by technology and innovation. While this transformation brings some uncertainty, it also creates new possibilities for skilled workers. Tradespeople who embrace training and certification in new methods position themselves to access exciting career opportunities on cutting-edge projects across architecture, engineering and infrastructure.

Construction employers are looking to fill talent gaps with workers who have knowledge of the latest techniques and a mindset oriented toward innovation. Proper accredited education gives tradespeople the confidence to implement advanced technologies, allowing them to evolve their skills rather than be disrupted by the changing industry landscape. By taking the initiative to pursue future-focused credentials, skilled construction workers can build the foundation for an adaptive long-term career while making a direct impact on Canada’s built environment. The future of the nation’s infrastructure will be defined by those who take training into their own hands.

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