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Fixing the housing crisis requires immigration reform and enhanced trades system

Residential Construction Council of Ontario outlines steps to boost sector

VAUGHAN — Aug. 4, 2022: The Residential Construction Council of Ontario (RESCON) wants the provincial government to aggressively push for immigration reform and enhance the training system for voluntary trades by providing more support to employers who provide opportunities for learning.

“Domestic training alone will not be enough to keep pace with the number of workers required to build 1.5 million new homes in the next decade, so more immigrants with experience in construction are needed,” says RESCON president Richard Lyall. “Additional support for employers who train voluntary trades is also required as we need workers with specialized skill sets in carpentry and other various finishing vocations that are required in residential construction.”

RESCON sent a letter to Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development Minister Monte McNaughton, outlining its position on the issues and calling on the province to continue working with employers and unions to address health and safety and labour legislation and make anti-racism and anti-discrimination training a part of health and safety requirements.

On immigration reform, RESCON wants the list of eligible professions expanded to include general labourers with experience in construction; allocate 1,000 of 9,000 seats under the Ontario Immigrant Nominee Program (OINP) to general labourers; allow spots to be allocated on a regional basis to address labour market needs; and remove repetitive paperwork. Without the changes, many opportunities in the residential- and infrastructure-related industries will be missed.

On voluntary trades, RESCON is suggesting that support for employers who train voluntary trades be expanded as it enhances the system beyond the existing formal apprenticeship training and ensures there are equal opportunities for all types of trades. Specifically, RESCON is asking for increased funding to on-site employers who provide on-the-job training to specialized pre-apprenticeship programs and that specialized skills sets be recognized through the pre-apprenticeship program.

“The GTHA remains the top region for home buyers as well as a top destination for new immigrants, and the need for more density requirements and mid-rise and high-rise units will only increase,” says Lyall. “These projects can not proceed without the voluntary trades, which make up most of the 40 different residential skilled trades. They are critical to building up Ontario’s much-needed housing stock.”

Read the letter to Minister McNaughton here.

About RESCON: RESCON is the province’s leading association of residential builders committed to providing leadership and fostering innovation in the industry.