Principal, Peel Passive House Consulting
With the federal government investing in major infrastructure projects to enhance Canada’s global competitiveness, workers with environmental competencies are in high demand.
Environmental workers are already prominent members of Canada’s workforce. According to the latest Labour Market Outlook to 2025 (March 2021) prepared by ECO Canada, environmental workers are present in every Canadian region, and industry, and in nearly every occupation. The report also notes that about 1 in 26 workers in Canada (or 689,000 workers) was in a green job in 2020.
Job openings in the environmental sector are expected to grow. Job growth and retirements are expected to account for 173,000 net environmental job openings by 2025. The construction industry, in particular, will see one of the highest hiring requirements by 2025, for high-demand occupations like designers, builders, and energy managers, and energy specialists.
Skilled workers needed in building sector
The building sector represents a unique opportunity for Canada to achieve its target of net-zero emissions by 2050. However, the sector needs a skilled, productive, and sustainable workforce to meet the energy efficiency demands within new and existing commercial, institutional, and multi-unit residential buildings.
Right now, this sector faces several challenges in attracting skilled talent. One is that it’s perceived as low-tech and therefore not attractive to youth and diverse audiences. Another challenge is that the soft and technical skills needed for these jobs aren’t integrated into the current foundational training. “The education hasn’t caught up with the times in terms of where construction is going and so many of these young workers don’t have some fundamental skills that we look for in our industry,” says Andrew Peel, Principal, Peel Passive House Consulting, a Toronto-based company that specializes in energy-efficient passive house buildings. Finally, a significant portion of the building sector comprises smaller businesses like Peel’s, which are additionally challenged when it comes to hiring because of tighter margins, funding difficulties, and lack of HR.
Employment programs can help. ECO Canada offers several wage subsidy programs to help employers attract new talent and give young workers exposure to what the industry is looking for. Employers save on initial wage and training costs, while young professionals can kickstart their career journey through meaningful work experience. The programs are funded by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy.
Over the past seven years, Peel has hired several interns through the program. “It’s been a great bridge to help train them up and, in each case, it has led to a full-time job with our company. Without such a program, it would be much more difficult for a small business like ours to make such a financial investment in young talent that doesn’t yet have the necessary skills,” says Peel.
EP Employer designation can help with employee attraction and retention
Being recognized as a credible green brand can help companies in the building sector attract and retain employees with the knowledge and skills to move business operations forward and thrive as the industry focuses on sustainability.
ECO Canada’s EP Employer designation is designed to do just that. When businesses become an EP-certified employer, they receive the EP Employer Seal, discounts on custom training and coaching, access to webinars and local events, an entire suite of HR tools, and more to showcase their brand’s environmental commitment.
ECO Canada would like to thank their funders for making these programs possible.