Merit Contractors Association

Merit Contractors Association

March 27, 2013 10:00 ET

Construction Industry Responding to Alberta Skills Shortage Challenge

EDMONTON, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - March 27, 2013) - The President of Canada's largest open shop construction organization, Merit Contractors Association, echoed support of the 2013 Federal Budget and its focus on developing and training Canadians to address the looming shortage of skilled construction workers across the country. The comments follow today's national release of the Construction Sector Council's (CSC) forecasts projecting the need to recruit 250,000 new entrants to the industry.

In Alberta, upwards of 30,000 construction workers are anticipated to retire by 2021. Even with new entrants, the CSC is forecasting a shortage of 21,000 over the next eight years.

Merit Contractors Association President Stephen Kushner stated, "We know that training Albertans with a skilled trade to build our province and sustain our future is the key to ensuring Alberta remains a province of opportunity. Providing training opportunities is an area currently being tackled by many in Alberta's construction industry."

Formal training of a skilled craftsperson typically takes four years, with approximately 80% of their training taking place on the job under the supervision of a working skilled craftsperson. About 20% of the training takes place in formal class room settings at provincially accredited colleges and institutes.

Merit Contractors Association members are at the forefront in recruiting and training Albertans to meet Alberta's demand for skilled construction workers. The Association spends over $2.0 million annually to reimburse the tuition fees for the technical training of upwards of 3,300 apprentices.

"Apprentices are highly valued by our member companies and are compensated while they complete their on-the-job training. By eliminating some of the financial burdens during the technical training period, more apprentices are able to achieve their goals" says Kushner. "Programs such as this, in support of training and developing Alberta talent, will go a long way to addressing skills shortages in the construction industry."

Merit Contractors Association is a province-wide, not-for-profit association comprised of over 1,300 contractor member firms that employ over 40,000 people in commercial, institutional and industrial construction sectors. The Association was formed in 1986 to serve the needs of the open shop construction industry. Visit

Contact Information

  • Merit Contractors Association
    Stephen Kushner, President/ Bill Stewart Vice-President
    (780) 455-5999

    Merit Contractors Association
    Peter Pilarski, Vice-President, Southern Alberta (Calgary)
    (403) 291-9247