by Stacy Dunn
Sam Sanderson, General Manager of the Construction Association of PEI (CAPEI) says the repairs needed after the damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona is still a concern for commercial construction in 2023.
“Small craft harbours and shorelines were severely damaged, and a great deal of roofing still needs to be repaired.”
He says 2023 is looking like another banner year for commercial construction. He lists the following large projects:
- renovations to the Daniel J. MacDonald building (which houses Veterans Affairs Canada)
- continuing renovations to Province House
- construction of the new Sherwood Elementary School
- site work is going on now for the new UPEI medical school facility
- construction of the extensive new $100 million Mental Health Campus
Jobs in demand
Sam says Carpenters continue to be most in demand in the sector. “Roofers, Electricians, HVAC, Plumbers and Masons continue to be the key professions that will continue to be available.”
He notes that a specialized skill like masonry is in high demand as renovations at Province House, the West Block Parliamentary Building in Ottawa, and similar projects around the world are on the rise. “PEI is not the only jurisdiction in need of highly skilled tradespeople. It’s happening across Canada and around the world.”
In 2022, CAPEI was named Partner Association of the Year by the Canadian Construction Association. CAPEI was recognized for its programs that bolster the skills necessary in the industry.
“Participants in our Skilled Newcomers program built an ICF foundation,” Sam says. “That kind of hands-on learning creates more employability skills.
“The participants were highly skilled in trades to begin with. They are going into project management, estimator roles, and general labour,” he says. “Some are working on their engineering or architectural certifications in Canada.”
All 11 participants of the most recent Youth in Trades program finished the program and were fully employed afterwards. “Our work with youth has been very innovative. We have brought in virtual reality career exploration toolkits to several schools on PEI and we hope to have them in every high school on the Island this year. There are 28 modules in these kits that students can explore.”
CAPEI is offering the second cohort of its Discover Carpentry program this year. “It’s been a very successful program, due to our Construction Training Centre, which allows for more hands-on training. Our participants are learning a lot of employability skills and are ready to go to work.”
CAPEI is working with youth organizations such as 4H to have its virtual reality career exploration toolkit reach more youth. It is working with Immigrants and Refugee Services Association PEI and other local newcomers’ groups to promote careers in the trades. And its international recruiting platform called TradesCan will be launched in Ontario and Nova Scotia this winter.
The association now is up to 320 members and continues to work with municipalities and the provincial and federal governments to get funding for career exploration and training.
“We have been talking to groups such as Engineers PEI and the Architects’ Association of PEI on construction techniques for net zero and climate change. It’s great that designers and engineers want to create net-zero projects, but they need us in the construction industry to build the net-zero buildings,” Sam says.
“We need to be involved on day one. A lot of thought, planning, and collaboration goes into each project, no matter what size it is.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
contact the Construction Association of PEI at 902-368-3303 or visit www.capei.ca