Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin companies offering goods and services to the construction industry may find opportunities in Canada.
Ontario’s population is expected to soar over the next 25 years, and that will require a sharp increase in home construction.
Ontario had 14.8 million residents as of July 1, 2021. The population will swell to 20.4 million—a 37.7% increase—by July 1, 2046, according to Ontario Ministry of Finance projections.
Much of the increase will center around Toronto, Canada’s largest city, with 2.8 million residents.
Because of the rapid growth, builders need to construct 1 million “family-friendly, climate-friendly” homes in Ontario over the next decade, an October 2021 report by the Smart Prosperity Institute says. The report by the Ottawa think tank says home construction over the past five years has not kept up with demand, and as a result, Ontario already is short about 64,000 residential units.
Adding that much housing will be a “monumental challenge,” Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy at the Smart Prosperity Institute, told CBC news. “We have never built, at least in my lifetime, at that level in Ontario.”
Moffatt estimates about 70,000 units are added each year, ranging from detached houses to condominiums to subsidized apartments. That number will have to increase to 100,000 per year to accommodate the expected 2.27 million more people who will live in Ontario by 2031.
The report, which received funding from the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, shows that the rising number of residents in their late 20s and early 30s is prompting much of the need for family-friendly housing.
Meanwhile, other reports on Ontario’s construction industry also anticipate significant growth.
Build Force Canada’s annual report says after a decline in housing starts in 2019, demand rose for single-family homes in 2020, and in 2021, housing starts hit a record level of 92,500 units. Home construction is expected to continue at a healthy pace over the next five years, the report says. Non-residential construction also will stay strong, with infrastructure improvements such as light rail and subway transit projects in the works.
Construction contractors are upbeat about the industry’s prospects for the next few years. The Ontario Construction Secretariat’s 2022 survey shows 82% of the contractors polled have a positive outlook about Ontario’s construction industry. That reflects a significant improvement over the past year, when more than half of the contractors had projects delayed and 38% reported projects canceled—mainly because of supply chain problems, increased materials prices and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to building construction, infrastructure construction is on the rise. ReNew Canada reports that the value of the top 100 projects in Canada rose from $253 billion in 2021 to $273 billion in 2022.
Wisconsin companies providing construction-related goods and services could find interest and opportunities in the Ontario provincial market.