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The Construction Industry: Key to Solving the Housing Crisis

January 11, 2024
Marc Desormeaux, Principal Economist • Florence Jean-Jacobs, Principal Economist

With demographic demand far outpacing housing construction and housing affordability severely stretched, we built a profile of the construction industry in Quebec and Canada as a whole. A major focus of our analysis is the extent to which housing supply can meet demand in the future.

Although homebuilding has proceeded at a solid clip and has seen its economic contribution rise over the past three years, the sector still faces myriad challenges. These include very high building costs, labour shortages, the dampening effects of weak economic growth, and competition for labour from the non-residential construction sector.

Quebec and the rest of Canada should continue to welcome newcomers who can help fill labour shortages in the construction sector. However, we should also be mindful of hurdles preventing workers from contributing to their full potential. In particular, we should think about how to reduce discrimination and harassment in the construction sector.

Efforts should also be made to bolster the residential construction sector’s productivity. Evidence from other countries suggests that prefabricated housing and greater adoption of digital technologies can help in this respect.

Ultimately, macroeconomic conditions are likely to present significant headwinds to our construction industry in the years ahead, but failure to meet our homebuilding objectives just isn’t an option.