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Empowering Essential Workers

C-STA Offers a Novel Approach to Filling Essential Worker Shortages

Canadian skilled trades association office
Canadian skilled trades association office
Photo courtesy of Cody Klingner-Jardine

Canadian Skilled Trades Association is addressing the construction labour shortage by changing the approach to the recruitment process.


The definition of essential service is “absolutely necessary; extremely important.” The image this conjures would naturally and deservedly be of health-care workers. However, what if there was a shift in perspective, meaning the term “absolutely necessary” is attached to the construction sector. What would this look like?

Most people would scoff at the idea of an “essential” construction worker. What would happen to this perspective if it was shared that the concrete trade, for example, the foundation of all builds, is losing 50 per cent of its workforce that’s able to place and finish an institutional flat floor. Big deal, you think, except that the highly sensitive hospital equipment we all rely on in operating rooms have building specifications that detail floor flatness and floor levelness in order for equipment to function properly and delivering this type of concrete install requires a skilled concrete crew. Now extend this perspective to 50-story high-rises, infrastructure builds, houses, warehouses, and so on.

This perspective changes the notion of “essential,” and as all companies across Canada experience a labour shortage, the question becomes how does the sector save essential construction trades like concrete? Government can’t fix the structural deficit in the labour force. Declining birth rates and the retirement of 30 to 50 per cent of the trades workforce in the next few years have left most, if not all, employers scrambling for labour.

How do we solve a problem that normally would have been solved through HR departments placing ads with employment/recruitment sites and companies or exhibiting at a job fair? We know this traditional root is no longer garnishing results, as there are no people to fill the positions, qualified or otherwise. Time to think outside the box. Canadian Skilled Trades Association, C-STA, offers this out-of-the-box solution for the Construction Sector.

The answer is rooted in practical, targeted sourcing of labour. The reality is not everyone is suited to work in the trades.

Canadian Skilled Trades Association (C-STA) sources new talent within Canada. C-STA transition youth, women, newcomers, and Indigenous individuals from across Canada into the trades. What sets C-STA apart from others is its unique approach to sourcing, attracting, and, most importantly, vetting participants in the program. We understand not everyone is suited for the trades. Furthermore, C-STA also fills the gaps in today’s training by offering hands-on training vs. the traditional classroom learning style. We develop programs with industry. We know the best tradespeople require hands-on learning, not classroom teaching with multiple choice testing. We get the right people job ready. Finally, C-STA saves employers time and money by vetting candidates prior to a commitment to hiring. Together all of these out-of-the-box strategies are garnishing results for employers.

There truly is an untapped and existing labour market within Canada. The challenge is adjusting the traditional decision-making paradigm of those hiring when it comes to continuing to support the same old programs, institutions, and recruitment avenues.

Join C-STA at c-sta.ca and learn how out-of-the-box thinking provides an out-of-the-box solution that is providing companies with new Canadian talent in the construction trades.

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