The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) has the largest construction market in Ontario, employing 163,450 people.

This sector is made up of three major sub-sectors: residential, ICI (industrial, commercial and institutional) and civil (heavy engineering). According to the Construction Sector Council, the construction labour market in Ontario will expand in 2011-2019.The strongest gains in the Greater Toronto Area are expected to be driven by large non-residential projects. These projects will respond to local needs and international demands. Examples of major projects include:

  • Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown Rail Transit.
  • Waterfront Redevelopment with the creation of the West Don Lands District Energy Centre.
  • Pan American Games, with the construction of the Pan American village on an 80-acre site next to the Don River in Toronto’s waterfront district.
  • University and college construction, e.g. George Brown College’s new campus in the East Donlands area.
  • Hospital expansion, e.g., Bridgepoint Hospital in Riverdale and the Hospital for Sick Children Research Tower.

Ontario’s Green Energy Act of 2008 is expected to raise the demand for green construction, which is influencing the development of new specializations in the trades. A number of trades are emerging in the construction field, such as: external insulation finishing system mechanics, solar installer, geothermal installers, and green roof specialists. Among more traditional construction jobs in demand, the Construction Sector Council identifies the following:

  • Boilermakers
  • Construction millwrights and industrial mechanics
  • Crane operators
  • Electricians, including industrial and power system
  • Refrigeration and air conditioning mechanics
  • Sheet metal workers
  • Steamfitters, pipefitters and sprinkler system installers
  • Tilesetters
  • Welders and related machine operators

For a full list of careers in the construction field, visit

Labour Force

As of February 2015, 1.4 million people worked in the Canadian construction industry. Of these workers, close to 1.1 million are directly involved in construction. Most of those in construction (77%) work for small to medium size construction companies that dominate the sector. Slightly fewer than 40% are employed in Building Construction, 14% are employed in Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction and 53% percent are employed as Specialty Trade Contractors. The number of women involved in construction trades is low, and the majority are found in service-producing and health care and social assistance fields. Among the jobs directly related to the sector, women are working as construction managers, homebuilders and painters/decorators. Last year in Toronto CMA 18,000 women worked in the construction industry as opposed to 137, 000 men.

Age profile 

People aged 45-64 make up slightly more than 40% of the construction workforce, while 11% of workers are between 15-24. The age profile for construction managers and home builders is slightly older, reflecting the accumulation of experience necessary for this occupation. 250,000 of Toronto's construction workers are expected to retire over the next 10 years, a skill shortage that Toronto now faces. With this, Canada will need 72,000 workers to meet the demands created by increased construction activity; attracting 322.000 new construction workers over the next 10 years.

Educational attainment 

According to the latest census data over 70% of workers employed as bricklayers, roofers and shingles and construction trade labourers have only a high school diploma or less. Almost 60% of construction managers have either a college or university diploma or degree. Among electricians and plumbers, over 70% have a trade certificate, diploma or degree.  Significant numbers of people are coming to the trades as second or a third career choices. 

Key facts 
  • The Toronto region has the largest construction market in Canada and one of the largest in North America.
  • Between 2000-2010 the construction sector added 35,000 jobs – a growth rate of 27.1%.
  • Estimated employment is projected to rise by more than 50 000 in GTA. Most of the employment gains will be in the non-residential sector and the growth is concentrated in the trades.
  • More than half of the entrants to the Toronto region workforce are immigrants. In some sectors their representation is even stronger, for example 98% of trim carpenters are newcomers.
  • Construction in the Toronto region is made up of high-rise residential and non-residential buildings.
  • Construction workers earn high hourly rates with variations among trades and between unionized and non-unionized jobs.
  • Toronto construction workers are highly productive compared to other parts of the world and have a high safety record (Construction Sector Council report).