📉 Why the slump?

Experts sound off on Canada's latest labour force numbers ...

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Good morning! Breathing air in some Canadian cities this week was the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes due to historic wildfires. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the fires are shutting down mills and driving up lumber prices for construction.

Today's reading time is 5 minutes.

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Markets: The country’s big banks bumped up prime lending rates to 6.95%, shortly after the Bank of Canada announced plans to lift interest rates. The central bank cited a resilient economy and stubborn inflation as reasons to raise its key interest rate by 25 basis points. The hike brought the benchmark rate to 4.75% – the highest since 2001. Experts say the hikes will cause problems for many variable mortgage holders and those renewing fixed-rate loans. It also means rent will likely rise as well.


Is dipping jobs data a sign of things to come?

The latest data from Statistics Canada shows some dents are being made in the country’s hot labour market. The agency noted that the unemployment rate rose for the first time in nine months.

Some of the key findings:

  • Overall employment went down by 17,000 jobs

  • After holding steady at 5.0% for five consecutive months from December 2022 to April 2023, the unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.2% in May.

  • Employment in business, building and other support services fared the worst, shedding 31,000 workers.

  • Construction gained 600 workers.

What experts are saying:

“The labour market had been defying gravity for months and was bound for some giveback. Our forecast implies that the massive job gains of prior months are behind us, causing the unemployment rate to rise towards 6% by the end of this year.” - James Orlando, director and senior economist at TD Economics

“It has taken more than a year, and 4½ percentage points of interest-rate hikes, but the unsinkable Canadian labour market is finally showing cracks in its hull … To be clear, 17,000 doesn’t represent a particularly large decline. And it’s only a single month of data. But in context, it’s a big deal.” - David Parkinson, Globe and Mail economics columnist

“We shouldn’t overreact to one month of data, but it’s now clear that momentum in Canada’s labour market has faded since January’s blockbuster hiring binge.” - Stephen Tapp, chief economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce


The week's headlines

Hundreds of wildfires continue to rage in several provinces including Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.

🔥 A historic fire season in Canada is impacting lumber production which could delay construction projects. The fires have already closed some mills that produce softwood lumber for North American markets. Some have also paused harvesting activities in areas near fires. Some experts worry this could cause lumber prices to shoot up.

☎️ Over the next four years, TELUS plans to invest $81B across Canada building and developing network infrastructure, operations and spectrum. The company stated that these investments are critical to providing Canadians with access to superior technology. TELUS aims to continue rolling out its 5G network and accelerating its Purefibre network while advancing healthcare and smart living solutions.

💰 Anthem Properties is asking the city of Vancouver to delay $10M in community amenity contributions due to market uncertainty from interest rate increases and unprecedented increases in hard costs. City hall’s risk management committee has recommended accepting the proposal to delay the payment.

🔎According to the Globe and Mail, Saadi Gadhafi, the third-born son of former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, is looking to sell his luxury Toronto penthouse. The property was purchased during a time when he was accepting bribes from Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.Sale of Gadhafi’s property has been made complicated by a freeze on his family’s assets by the United Nations.

🧑‍⚖️ Vancouver-based construction technology company Nexii is facing two legal challenges: Alleged breach of contract in B.C., and breach of contract, fraud, tortious interference and securities fraud in Pennsylvania. Nexii denies all claims of wrongdoing in both cases.


Meet ‘25 Innovators’ judge Joe Di Placito

The 25 Innovators in Construction award is proud to have Joe Di Placito as one of its judges. He is a man that wears many hats. He is co-founder and president of RAM Consulting, a director on the board of the BC Association of Consulting Engineers, a volunteer with Women In Infrastructure and a coach for his daughter’s soccer team.

Applications for the awards close July 14th and winners will be announced September 7th.

The inaugural awards are possible thanks to presenting sponsor Procore Technologies.

Learn more about the awards and apply online here.


Gehry returns to Toronto skyline

A rendering shows the pair of towers designed by Frank Gehry. - Great Gulf

Hometown hero: Crews have broken ground on Forma, a highly anticipated tower development in Toronto designed by prominent architect Frank Gehry. It will be the 94-year-old’s largest project ever in his hometown. The pair of 73- and 84-story towers will add more than 2,000 housing units to the city and will be the tallest project of Gehry’s career. Toronto’s Great Gulf is leading the development. Gehry became famous for designing buildings like the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in L.A.


Government plans to spend $48.6 million on wastewater projects in B.C.

Graham will do site prep work for Calgary’s Green Line in Ogden

Broccolini tops off River & Fifth at 37 storeys in Toronto

Beedie has launched a 16-tower development in Coquitlam

Planning is underway for a $40M redevelopment of Calgary’s Olympic Plaza

A major fire at Maple Ridge construction site has displaced hundreds

Provincial officials commit to Ontario Place plans regardless of Mayoral race outcome

The concrete structure has been completed for Paul Myers Tower at Lions Gate Hospital


University students walk past the tə šxʷhəleləm̓s tə k̓ʷaƛ̓kʷəʔaʔɬ project in Vancouver. – Hotson Architecture

LIST: 🏗️ 12 epic modular projects pushing boundaries across Canada

READ:⚡Tesla will open up its charging network to other vehicles

PHOTOS: 🌳 Singapore opens Asia’s biggest mass timber building

REPORT: 🚨 Earthquakes could devastate thousands of San Francisco buildings

PHOTOS: 🐻 Dialog designs bridges for Alberta critters


🔥 Check out the hottest senior-level construction jobs up for grabs in construction right now:

Director of Safety, Subways - Toronto, Ont. - Metrolinx

Vice President, Legal - Vancouver, B.C. - Artemis Gold

Director of Projects - Ottawa, Ont. - DILFO Mechanical

Director, Business Development - Edmonton, Alta. - Govan Brown

Director, Surface Construction - Saskatoon, Sask. - NexGen Energy

Principal Open Pit Mining Engineer - Toronto, Ont. - Glencore Copper

Vice President, Client Services - Montreal, Que. - MSC

Director, Human Resources - Ottawa Ont. - Giatec Scientific

👉 Job board: See all the roles at SiteNews Jobs or put your job post in front of tens of thousands of construction professionals here. Hurry up before our free trial ends!

Struggling to fill a role? Send us an email at [email protected] to connect with one of our specialized recruitment experts.

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Here’s to a great rest of the week!