Construction labour shortage weighs on Alberta businesses as growth accelerates

Alberta’s population boom is increasing pressure on the construction sector to build the infrastructure to accommodate growth and business owners say they’re already feeling the labour crunch. 

A shortfall of workers in skilled trades is an issue across Canada, but with Alberta adding more than 200,000 new residents last year, the industry needs to find a way to keep up with more road and bridge repairs, new housing development and major infrastructure work.

“It’s literally the No. 1 issue on everyone’s mind,” said Independent Contractors and Businesses Association Alberta president Mike Martens.

“From the sewage lines underneath the water treatment plants to the roads, bridges, hospitals — all these things that really create the amazing life we have in North America is old infrastructure,” he said.

“We’ve taken it for granted, and now it’s needing fixing, and we don’t have the people available to fix it.”

Industry group BuildForce Canada forecasts Alberta will need to replace almost a quarter of its 2023 labour force within a decade.

While the province’s younger population relative to some other parts of Canada should help make it easier to close the gap, factoring in growth means there could still be a shortfall of 22,000 workers by 2033.

Statistics Canada data shows Alberta’s construction job vacancy rate jumped to 6.7 per cent in the third quarter of 2023. In comparison, in the five years leading up to the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020, the province’s construction job vacancy rates never exceeded 3.5 per cent.

Gary Zeitner is senior vice president of Edmonton-based civil construction firm Abalone Group of Companies. (Madeline Smith/CBC)

Gary Zeitner is senior vice president at Abalone Group of Companies, a civil construction firm. The company employs heavy equipment operators that do the excavation and grading work to prepare for the next stage of construction — it’s the bedrock of virtually any infrastructure project, whether that’s a new residential subdivision or an industrial project.

“We do not bid on all of the opportunities that are out there, and the reason is entirely about our labour force,” Zeitner said.

“We have an asset base of equipment that would allow us to do much more work than we’ve done in the last five years, but we simply can’t get the labour force that would be able to make use of all of that equipment.”

Operating the excavators and other equipment involved in the

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Business insolvencies jump despite stable economic growth

Daily roundup of research and analysis from The Globe and Mail’s market strategist Scott Barlow

It’s not easy to find signs of aggregate consumer financial stress in Canada but as BMO senior economist Sal Guatieri points out, there has been a concerning jump in business insolvencies.

“The May data on Canadian insolvencies show growing stress for both consumers and businesses, especially the latter. Consumer insolvencies have largely returned to pre-pandemic norms, and are likely to rise further if interest rates stay high and the jobless rate rises. Of greater concern is that business insolvencies have already overshot 2019 levels at a time of reasonably healthy economic activity. … Businesses showed amazing resiliency during the Great Recession. But they are already under stress even before an expected mild economic slump”

“BMO: “Canadian Businesses Under Pressure”” – (research excerpt) Twitter


Citi analyst Ephrem Ravi maintains his bullish stance on battery-related commodity prices.

“In order to enable the Energy Transition and meet related customer and government demands, automakers are set to consume dramatically more industrial and battery metals over the coming years … We estimate that the value of automaker industrial and battery metal consumption outside of China may rise by $140bn to $230bn between 2023 and 2030 (+15% p.a), from ~$90bn at present, using spot prices. The bulk of the increase may come from lithium (+$87bn), alongside nickel (+$19bn), copper (+$14bn), and aluminium (+$14bn), assuming broadly unchanged prices from recent levels … We estimate that the value of desired metals hedging from automakers outside of China might quadruple from ~$23bn at present, to ~$80bn by 2030″


Also from BMO, analyst Sohrab Movahedi calculates that the major banks will be making less profits from basic lending operations.

“The Q2/23 results at the Canadian Banking Segment (making up nearly half of the “Big 6′s” total earnings) marked the first quarter of negative earnings growth since Q4/20, with group earnings down 4% y/y. The 4% y/y decline in earnings is reflective of double-digit revenue growth (NIM [net interest margin] expansion and resilient loan growth) that was more than offset by higher expenses and normalizing PCLs [provisions for credit losses]. The segment’s profitability, as represented by the group’s ROA [return on assets], was down y/y from 128bps to 114 bps (in line with the pre-pandemic average of 114bps), primarily reflecting the negative impact from higher PCLs. Looking ahead, the combination of a slowdown in

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B.C. coast seeing growth jump in ocean-related businesses

$8.1-million funding boost from Ottawa’s Pacific Economic Development Agency propels South Island’s Blue Economy into the future of marine technology.

Brandon Wright runs a company out of Oak Bay Marina that designs remote security and monitoring systems for vessels ranging from small sailing and pleasure craft to fisheries and police boats and Canadian warships.

Barnacle Systems Inc. produces the software and hardware to monitor location, cabin status and engine conditions. In more detailed applications, the software can monitor the vital signs of the ship’s operators.

“We’re installed on the RCMP boats, DFO fisheries, search and rescue vessels and big in special forces and the Royal Canadian Navy,” said Wright, who employs 15 people and sells the systems into 40 countries. “We can pull in engine and camera data, environmental data. It gets the whole health of the boat.

“We can also tie in biometric data [through cameras and sensors] so we can understand the stress of the people on the boat that can measure skin temperature and moisture, so someone like special forces can understand during events how stressed they may actually be.”

Wright, a UVic grad, started developing surveillance systems after working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Air Force.

Barnacle Systems is an example of the region’s deep talent pool and massive potential in the so-called Blue Economy, where research and development is spawning innovation by startup companies in transportation, food, environmental protection and other sectors associated with the ocean.

On Tuesday, the South Island Prosperity Partnership, received $3 million in funding from Ottawa’s Pacific Economic Development Agency to support the ocean and marine technology sectors as well as First Nations groups who are doing ocean monitoring and conservation.

Minister Harjit Sajjan announced a total of $8.1 million in funds that will also support $1.9 million for two projects at the University of Victoria and $820,000 to the Association of British Columbia Marine Industries.

Emilie de Rosenroll, chief executive of the South Island Prosperity Partnership, said the funds will support the development of a marine innovation network and training hub through COAST, the blue economy arm of SIPP dedicated to expanding B.C.’s rapidly growing marine technology sectors. The funding will also expand Indigenous entrepreneurship and the exploration of economic opportunities involving SIPP’s Indigenous-led arm, the Indigenous Prosperity Centre.

SIPP, founded in 2016, has about 70 member organizations including municipal and First Nations governments, industry associations and

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A Business Coach Who Makes $1 Million Shares Her Growth Strategy

  • Jereshia Hawk is the founder of Leverage, an online coaching business for women of color.
  • She quit her engineering job to pursue coaching full time and started by identifying her clientele.
  • To grow from there, she hired a support team and started shaping the business to run without her.

In July 2017, Jereshia Hawk quit her engineering job at Consumers Energy to grow her online coaching business, Leverage. Since then, Hawk has given hundreds of women of color working as entrepreneurs and coaches the tools to design, market, sell, and scale their own group-coaching programs.

Hawk knows firsthand the challenges her clients have to navigate because when she started coaching, she didn’t know how to turn her knowledge of marketing, sales, and promotion into a profitable product.

After seeking out online communities for coaches and learning the basics, Hawk started by selling PDFs and digital courses. She went on to launch a $60-a-month group-coaching program in 2016, but the model was unsustainable and required her to trade too much time for money. About nine months into business, Hawk hired a coach to teach her how to develop a more viable strategy to package and deliver her expertise while maximizing her income.

Now Leverage is a seven-figure brand. She shared with Insider the growth strategies she used to transform from a new entrepreneur into a million-dollar coach.

Shifting from expert to teacher to coach

For coaches, expertise is the product. Hawk struggled at first to package her knowledge in a way her clients could connect with and replicate. As her client list grew, Hawk learned how to deliver knowledge based on what people already understood and which gaps she needed to fill for them.

“In the very beginning, you have to go from being an expert to learning how to be a good coach,” Hawk told Insider. “You have to become consciously aware of where your competencies are, know how to articulate them, and learn the practice of meeting your clients or prospects where they are instead of where we assume they are or where we wish they were.”

Hawk refined her ability to teach by spending a lot of one-on-one time with clients through “done with you” training, where she worked alongside clients to reach

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The Detlev Rohwedder Constructing, situated within the Wilhelmstraße in Berlin’s historic government quarter, has been the top office of the German Finance Ministry since 1999. It reflects the levels of Germany’s turbulent historical past more clearly than virtually any other constructing within the capital.

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We are expecting the European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to step up activities in Hungary”, Minister for Nationwide Economy Mihály Varga said at the EBRD’s Annual Assembly and Business Forum held in Amman, Jordan. The Minister has met with, amongst others, EBRD Vice President Jürgen Rigterink.

Environment friendly and efficient tax administration is prime to the lengthy-time period financing of a functioning society, poverty reduction and the achievement of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda. Sweden has therefore invited representatives of governments in a hundred and sixty nations, agencies, international and regional organisations, civil society and the business sector to change experiences of tax capacity-constructing. The Stockholm Tax Conference will probably be held … Read more