Ontario Construction Secretariat

March 03, 2010 15:46 ET

Contractors Anticipate Improved Business Opportunities in 2010

As Ontario’s Economy Strengthens – Many Expect to Conduct More Work and Increase Hiring

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, Media Editor, News Editor ETOBICOKE, ONTARIO, PRESS RELEASE--(Marketwire - March 3, 2010) - The Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) released the findings of its 2010 Survey of Ontario's ICI Construction Industry this morning to an audience of construction industry professionals and business owners at the OCS 10th Annual State of the Industry & Outlook Conference.

This annual survey of Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) construction contractors across Ontario reveals that the sector is set to experience stronger growth in 2010. The survey of over 1000 non-residential ICI contractors conducted by Ipsos Reid for the Ontario Construction Secretariat indicates that half (49%) of ICI construction contractors expect to conduct more (35%) or much more (14%) work in 2010, compared to 2009.
Contractors expect to conduct the most new work in the commercial sector (42%), followed by the industrial and institutional sectors (20% and 17%, respectively). Contractors in the GTA are the most optimistic for new business in 2010, while those firms in the London area and Northwestern Ontario are the least optimistic.

The positive outlook for 2010 is also expected to translate into more jobs in the ICI construction sector as three-in-ten (31%) firms expect to increase the number of people they employ over the next year.

Contractor's strong optimism for this year is welcomed as 2009 proved to be a tough year for many firms. Slightly less than half (42%) of firms reported conducting less business in 2009, compared to a record breaking year in 2008. However, despite the tough economic year, three-in-ten (30%) firms also reported conducting more business last year compared to 2008. Those firms located in Eastern Ontario and also larger firms who earn more annual revenue were the most likely to have had a successful year in 2009.

The effects of 2009 are still lingering for many firms in Ontario as more than half (57%) report the current economic situation is having a negative impact on their business in early 2010. Meaning, many firms may be anticipating a rebound in activity later in the year. The fact that only one-quarter (27%) of firms felt that the Infrastructure Stimulus funds had a very significant (7%) or somewhat significant (20%) on their business activity in 2009 points to the slow uptake of these funds. It is anticipated that more firms will benefit in 2010 as two-thirds (63%) believe the Infrastructure Stimulus should be extended beyond the current March 2011 deadline.

Despite the tough year for many ICI contractors throughout the province, the majority of firms continue to be in a strong (41%) or very strong (26%) financial position (67%, down 8% from the previous year) in 2010, allowing these firms to capitalize on any new opportunities that arise in ICI construction this year.

Ontario Construction Secretariat Reveals Findings of ICI Construction Industry Survey

Looking forward into 2010…
* More firms rate the availability of new business opportunities as good or very good (60%, compared to 46% in 2009)
* Half (50%) rate the availability of skilled construction workers as very good or good (similar to 2009 findings)
* Twice as many firms expect access to financing and credit to increase in 2010, compared to 2009 (22% vs. 13%)
* Firms expect the cost of most (if not all) aspects of conducting business to increase over the next year, particularly transportation costs (61%), construction materials (57%), and overhead (50%).

In addition to presenting the findings of the OCS Survey, Katherine Jacobs (Director of Research and Analysis, Ontario Construction Secretariat) provided a synopsis of construction activity in 2009 and an outlook for ICI construction in 2010. Dr. Lloyd Atkinson, a widely respected economist and forecaster, set the economic stage for the day by addressing the topic "The Great Recession and the Emerging Recovery". This was augmented by an indepth look at Ontario's manufacturing sector by Jayson Myers, the President and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. The audience also received remarks from the Minister of Labour, Hon. Peter Fonseca.

The Ontario Construction Secretariat was established in 1993 under provincial legislation to represent the collective interests of the organized building trades unions and their signatory contractors in the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) construction industry. The OCS, together with our labour-management-government partners, works to enhance Ontario's unionized ICI construction industry by developing relationships, facilitating dialogue, providing value-added research, disseminating information and promoting the value of unionized ICI construction.
For more information contact:

Katherine Jacobs
Director of Research & Analysis
T: 416-620-5210 x225
Rishi Sondhi
Construction Information Coordinator
T: 416-620-5210 x222

Ontario Construction Secretariat
940 The East Mall
Etobicoke, ON M9B 6J7
T: 416-620-5210 F: 416-620-5310

/For further information: Rishi Sondhi
Construction Information Coordinator
T: 416-620-5210 x222

Contact Information

  • Katherine Jacobs, Director of Research & Analysis, Ontario Construction Secretatiat
    Primary Phone: 416-620-5210 ext. 225
    Secondary Phone: 416-620-5270 ext. 222
    Toll-Free: 888-878-8868
    E-mail: kjacobs@iciconstruction.com