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Trades in Demand

by Rebecca Verwolf

If you’re looking into starting your career, or switching into a new career, chances are you’ve heard or read somewhere that there are many opportunities in the skilled trades. Experts are predicting thousands of jobs will become available in the trades in the next few years.

For example, according to Careers in Construction, in the next decade, approximately 86,500 trades-people are expected to retire in Ontario. With major industrial and construction projects planned in Ontario in the areas of transportation, energy, mining, residential home building and renovation, there will be an increase in demand for workers in the skilled trades.

If you have thought about a career in the skilled trades, you may be wondering how to decide on the right career path for you. There are a lot of trades to choose from: Ontario alone recognizes 156 registered trades. The Ontario College of Trades, the regulatory body that completes apprenticeship registrations, collects fees and supports people working in the skilled trades in Ontario, is a good first place to start. On their website at: you can research all registered trade occupations by sector: Construction, Industrial, Motive Power, Service and learn about the steps to become an apprentice in Ontario.

One of the factors you should consider when choosing a career in the trades is the current and expected demand for each trade. The good news is you don’t have to consult a crystal ball to peek into the future. The government sponsors the research and publication of a great career-planning tool called “labour market information.” Labour market information (when published by reliable sources) includes carefully researched predictions about the future of particular jobs. Good labour market information takes into account all kinds of factors like planned development projects, local economies, unemployment rates, and education enrolments. There are many great sources of labour market information for the skilled trades, including the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, BuildForce Canada, which focuses on jobs in the construction sector.

Every 4 years, the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities publishes predictions for job opportunities in Ontario. You can find these predictions on their website, at For the years 2013-2017, they have predicted that 8 trades-related jobs will be in particularly high demand:

  • Boilermakers
  • Crane Operators (also called Hoist Engineers)
  • Construction & Maintenance Electricians
  • Construction Managers
  • Domestic & Rural Electricians
  • Landscape & Horticultural Technicians
  • Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Mechanics
  • Residential Home Builders & Renovators

Another resource focusing on the Canadian construction sector is BuildForce Canada. A government-funded resource and information group, BuildForce, publishes forecasts of which construction-related trades will be in high demand ( In Ontario, they foresee an increased need for these construction trades:

  • Boilermakers
  • Construction Managers
  • First Level Construction Supervisors
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • Lineworkers
  • Steamfitter/Pipefitter/Sprinkler System Installers

If you are considering working in the trades, it is well worth your time to look at job prospects and labour market demand in your local area. Visiting sites such as the ones above will help you learn about the different career options in the registered trades and follow the trends to decide upon your path for a satisfying career.

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