Opposition concerned by falling construction job numbers

Questions are being raised about the future of Saskatchewan’s construction industry, as numbers from Statistics Canada show a slowdown in jobs.

In 2014, Stats Canada numbers show 57,200 construction jobs in the province; while in 2018, the number has dropped to 48,900.

Despite the decline in jobs, the Saskatchewan Construction Association says it remains cautiously optimistic moving forward.

“As long as we don’t see any further decline, the companies and the employees out there today should be able to keep going,” Director of Advocacy and Communication for the Saskatchewan Construction Association John Lax said.

Lax says construction is cyclical and there should still be confidence in the province, and many companies are streamlining as competition has gotten fiercer.

In question period, the NDP criticized the provincial government for taxing the construction industry through Provincial Sales Tax.

Saskatchewan’s Minister of Trade and Export development says the province will not be eliminating the PST on construction, saying the broader issue is the effects of the cost of oil and the economy.

“The addition of that six per cent PST has made projects more expensive and has made a lot of people take the choice to not go forward with investments,” Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said.

“Pointing to any one particular policy I think is not an accurate way of talking about the economy,” Minister of Trade and Export Development Jeremy Harrison said.

The Construction Association says there is a degree of optimism, but going forward members hope to see a return to government investment in infrastructure beyond just highways.





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