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Water infrastructure construction projects in Canada

Canada is committed to heavy investment in infrastructure to stimulate the economy following the impacts of Covid-19. This, coupled with increased investment in water infrastructure in recent years as Canada pushes to implement secondary and tertiary treatment for wastewater, means that we expect lots of activity in this sector. This article is your definitive guide to Canada’s ongoing and upcoming water infrastructure construction projects. Between water supply, water treatment, wastewater treatment, conveyance, flood infrastructure, hydroelectric dams and ports, and marine, we outline the major water infrastructure projects across Canada.

Below is a guide of active water infrastructure construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the buildings sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Projects in Preconstruction / Procurement Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Preconstruction / Procurement Stage

Skyline of Stanley Park facing downtown Vancouver.
Metro Vancouver is planning the construction of a new water infrastructure project that will run deep underground in Stanley Park.

Roberts Bank Terminal 2, Greater Vancouver, BC – $2bn P3

Proposed new three-berth container terminal that would provide additional capacity of 2.4 million TEUs per year to meet the port’s forecasted demand until 2030. The project would be approximately 5.5 kilometres offshore, northwest of the existing Roberts Bank Terminal facilities.

Status: RFQ expected in late 2021.

Northwest Langley WWTP, Greater Vancouver, BC

The existing plant  is being expanded to serve residents and businesses in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. The project will increase the plant’s capacity from serving 30,000 people in Langley to 230,000 in three municipalities. Expansion works will include conveyance, pump stations, storage tanks, and outfall pipes.

Status: Main construction works due to start by 2022.

Iona Island WWTP, Greater Vancouver, BC – $>1bn

Metro Vancouver approved an upgrade to tertiary treatment at the Iona Island Plant, the highest level of wastewater treatment.

Status: Pre-Planning. Construction is due to be complete by 2030.

Coquitlam Water Main, Greater Vancouver, BC – $670m

Construction of a new tunnel to bring water from the Coquitlam Lake Reservoir to the growing populations of the Tri-Cities, Surrey and points east. The tunnel will be dug through rock, soil, and gravel deep down at the south end of Coquitlam Lake, bringing fresh water to treatment facilities at the top of Pipeline Road, which will also be upgraded to handle the increased capacity.

Status: In planning. Construction is set to start by 2023.

Tofino WWTP, Vancouver Island, BC – $80m

Plans include a new WWTP, conveyance system, outfall, and solids handling facility for the Tofino area. 

Status: Project postponed as all bids exceeded the funding level of $55m.

Annacis Water Supply Tunnel, Greater Vancouver, BC – $450m

Metro Vancouver is constructing a new 2.3km-long water supply tunnel deep under the Fraser River, between the cities of New Westminster and Surrey.

Status: RFP to be issued in Feb / Mar 2021. Construction is due to start later in 2021.

Stanley Park Water Tunnel, Vancouver, BC – $200m

Metro Vancouver is planning to construct a major water infrastructure project deep underground in Stanley Park. The new water supply tunnel will replace an existing water main that was built in the 1930s and is nearing the end of its service life. Construction of this water supply tunnel is scheduled to begin in late 2022 and finish in 2026.

Status: RFQ due in early 2021.

Capilano Watershed Infrastructure Upgrades – $50m

The two projects currently being planned include a backup power system to ensure a reliable supply of drinking water in case of a power outage, as well as improvements to Metro Vancouver’s watershed gatehouse area. 

Status: Construction starts in 2021.

Cambie-Richmond Water Supply Tunnel, Richmond, BC

Proposed water supply tunnel for the Richmond area.

Status: Conceptual Design.

Haney Main Water Supply Tunnel, BC

Status: Conceptual Design.

Fleetwood Reservoir and Water Main, Surrey (Greater Vancouver), BC

A new underground reservoir and water main in the city of Surrey to continue delivering clean, safe drinking water to the growing communities south of the Fraser River.

Status: RFQ expected in 2021.

Annacis Island Gravity Thickener and Filters, Delta, BC – $70m

This project includes two new additional trickling filters, a trickling filter pump station, two new additional gravity thickeners, two new additional centrifuges and a new maintenance workshop annex. Work has not yet been tendered and is expected to run until 2026.

Status: Currently at RFQ stage. Construction complete by 2026.

Lloydminster Wastewater Treatment Facility, Lloydminster, AB – $81m

This project involves constructing a mechanical wastewater treatment facility near the existing wastewater lagoons to establish a modernized efficient system.

Status: Proposed.

Water Pollution Control Facility Upgrading, Portage la Prairie, MB – $172m P3 DBFOM

A major upgrade to the Water Pollution Control Facility is required to meet new provincial and federal water quality standards. The upgrade must reduce nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) discharged from the facility to the Assiniboine River. 

Status: RFP issued in Dec 2020. Construction is set to begin in early 2022.

Dry Reservoir, Springbank, Calgary, AB – $432m

The Springbank Off-stream Reservoir is a dry reservoir that will store water temporarily during a flood. It will work in tandem with the Glenmore Reservoir in Calgary. Together, the combined storage capacity would accommodate water volumes equal to Calgary’s 2013 flood.

Status: Proposed.

Projects in Construction Phase

Construction of the Site C water infrastructure project in northeast British Columbia
The Site C Clean Energy project involves the construction of a hydroelectric dam on the Peace River. Photo courtesy of the Government of BC.

Site C Clean Energy, Fort St John, BC – $10.7bn

This hydroelectric earthfill dam on the Peace River includes several components: an earthfill dam 1,050 metres long and 60 metres high, a 1,100-MW generating station and associated structures, an 83-kilometre-long reservoir, a realignment of six sections of Highway 29, and two 77-kilometre transmission lines along an existing transmission line right-of-way, connecting Site C to the existing provincial power grid.

Status: Due for completion by 2024, but the project’s future remains uncertain due to geotechnical risks.

Centerm Expansion and South Shore Access, Vancouver, BC – $450m DB

This project includes expansion and reconfiguration of the container terminal, construction of a new overpass, and major tenant upgrades.

Status: Completion by early 2022.

Comox Valley WWTP, Vancouver Island, BC – $126m DB

This project involves the completion of a new water treatment system that will comply with the province of British Columbia’s water treatment objectives and guidelines. The project will deliver three main benefits including eliminating the need for turbidity-related boil water notices, removing the risk of viruses and bacteria in drinking water, and providing a secure supply of reliable, high-quality drinking water for decades to come.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Consolidated Wastewater Treatment Plant, Powell River, BC – $76m

This treatment facility will consolidate all wastewater from existing plants in Westview, Townsite, and the Wildwood lagoon. It will significantly improve how Powell River treats wastewater and minimize human impact on the marine environment. It will also be easier to operate, maintain, and administer than the three existing facilities.Status: Completion by 2022.

CFB Esquimalt A/B Jetty Recapitalization, Victoria, BC – $780m

The aim of the jetty project is to demolish the existing A and B jetties at CFB Esquimalt’s dockyard and construct a new steel-and-concrete-pile A and B jetty facility in the same location. Due to the degraded functional and technical condition of the existing 70-plus-year-old structures, the recapitalization of these facilities has long been an infrastructure priority for the Royal Canadian Navy and the Department of National Defence.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Annacis Island WWTP Expansion, Delta (Greater Vancouver), BC – $252m

The Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant treats about 175 billion litres of wastewater every year. Located in Delta at 1299 Derwent Way, the plant provides secondary treatment to wastewater for over 1 million residents in 14 municipalities.

This project includes a new expansion and upgrades to existing primary treatment and odour control system facilities. The scope includes 5 new primary sedimentation and pre-aeration tanks, process piping, mechanical, electrical, and instrumentation equipment.

Status: Construction complete by early 2021.

Annacis WWTP Outfall Pipe, Delta (Greater Vancouver), BC – $184m

Wastewater from the Annacis Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is released into the Fraser River through an outfall pipe once it has been treated. A new outfall location and diffuser system is being installed, which will involve constructing a tunnel approximately one-kilometre long from the plant to the river. The scope of works for the project consists of construction of two 40m-deep shafts (one at 15m diameter and one at 10m diameter) inside the WTP, construction of two 4.20m internal diameter segmentally lined tunnels (200m and 580m long), a river riser in the Fraser River, a 280m long, 2.5m diameter, diffuser buried in the Fraser River bottom, and a new water control structure.

Status: Construction complete by 2023.

Second Narrow Water Supply Tunnel, Greater Vancouver, BC – $267m

This project will construct a new water supply tunnel deep under Burrard Inlet, east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge between the district of North Vancouver and the city of Burnaby. The project includes the construction of seismic standard shafts, one on each side of Burrard Inlet, connected by a 1,100-metre tunnel.

Status: Construction complete by 2023.

South Surrey Interceptor Twinning, BC, $65m

Twinning of the South Surrey Interceptor which conveys sewage from the Fraser Valley into Annacis Island WWTP. The sewer line will connect to the trenchless segment on 153A Street and along 56th Avenue, where the sewer will tie into a junction chamber. The construction of the South Surrey Interceptor over No. 2 the past 20 years has demonstrated the design flexibility of using reinforced concrete pipe and the structural advantages of precast. The composite pipe with corrosion resistant liner will provide the long-term sewage conveyance solutions required for the extensive growth in the region.

Status: Completion by 2023.

Northshore WWTP, Greater Vancouver, BC – $700m P3

This greenfield secondary treatment plant will replace an existing primary treatment plant. Increased plant capacity will allow up to 320 million litres per day to be treated under storm conditions.

Status: Construction began in 2018 and will be complete by 2022.

Northshore Conveyance, Greater Vancouver, BC – $80m DB

Metro Vancouver awarded this contract to design and construct a pump station and related pipes to convey wastewater from the existing Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant to the new North Shore Wastewater Treatment Plant that is currently under construction on West 1st Street between Pemberton Avenue and Philip Avenue.

Status: Completion by end of 2021.

Bonnybrook WWTP D Expansion, Calgary, AB – $400m

This project involves upgrades and expansion of the Bonnybrook WWTP in three phases.

Status: Construction started in 2017 and completion by 2022.

Keeyask Hydroelectric Dam, Manitoba – $8.7bn

This 695-megawatt hydroelectric generating station will produce an average of 4,400 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. The scope of work includes rock excavation, concrete for the powerhouse and spillway, earthen structures, electrical and mechanical work, and the construction and removal of temporary cofferdams needed to manage the river flow during construction.

Status: Completion by 2021.

North End WWTP Biological Nutrient Removal Upgrade, Winnipeg, MB – $1.78bn

The implementation of a nutrient-removal process will require a major plant expansion and, given the age of the infrastructure and the complexity of phasing for the construction, several new facilities will be constructed. The overall project has be separated into three distinct capital projects:

  1. North End Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrades: Power Supply & Headworks Facilities – $408 million
  2. North End Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrades: Biosolids Facilities – $553 million
  3. North End Sewage Treatment Plant Upgrades: Nutrient Removal Facilities – $828 million

Status: Only the Power Supply has started construction. The second and third packages are yet to go to procurement.

Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure, Toronto, ON – $1.25bn

This project encompasses the redevelopment of one of the largest portions of under-developed land in a major urban core in North America. Located along the shore of Lake Ontario southeast of Toronto’s downtown core, the project will include substantial soil remediation, a new mouth for the Don River, and critical infrastructure for flood resilience to unlock the 325-hectare site for residential and commercial development.

Status: Started in 2018. Completion by 2024.

York Durham Sewage System (YDSS) Forcemain Twinning, Greater Toronto Area, ON – $110m

This project involves construction of a 5.1-kilometre-long sewage pipe that will run parallel to an existing 36-year-old forcemain through the heart of Newmarket.

Status: Complete by Dec 2021.

Coxwell Bypass Tunnel, Toronto, ON – $400m

This 10.5-kilometre long, 6.3-metre wide tunnel will run west along Lakeshore Boulevard, east to the Don Roadway, north up the Don River Valley to the North Toronto Treatment Plant and east to the Coxwell Ravine Park where it will end.

Status: Construction began in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2024.

Ashbridges Bay Outfall (ABPTO), Toronto, ON – $300m

A tunnel is being constructed that will carry treated water waste from the Ashbridges Bay WWTP back into Lake Ontario. Ashbridges Bay is the city’s largest and oldest water treatment plant. When complete, this project will replace the existing outfall built 70 years ago.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Dam, NL – $12.7bn

This project involves construction of an 824-megawatt hydroelectric generating facility at Muskrat Falls on the lower Churchill River in Labrador, and more than 1,600 kilometres of associated transmission lines and infrastructure that will deliver electricity to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Status: Completion in early 2021.

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out some of our related guides:

As both a short-term and long-term economic strategy, Canada is set to welcome many more water infrastructure projects in the months and years to come. Expertise in major water infrastructure projects is in demand so get in touch with the Outpost Recruitment team to learn more about opportunities that suit your experience.

If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, get in touch with us by creating your profile with Outpost Recruitment.

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COVID-19 FAQ: Impacts on Canadian construction and engineering

As the COVID-19 health situation continues across Canada, the construction sector across the country is feeling the impact of a global recession coupled with public mandates for social distancing. The Outpost community has been reaching out to ask how COVID-19 is impacting recruitment in the Canadian construction and engineering industries. These are our answers to the most commonly asked questions.

Jump to:

 

Are employers in the engineering and construction sectors hiring right now?

Hiring has resumed but many clients are taking a cautious approach due a prevailing sense of uncertainty. With a high number of firms laying off workers across industrial (Oil & Gas), there are quite a few free agents in the market. Most of our clients are preoccupied with procedures to bring their workers back into the office while adapting to stringent new health and safety measures, including social distancing.

Given different provinces and specific projects have different restrictions in place, it’s ideal to research the relevant province and project.

We’re always keen to hear from motivated job seekers so feel free to create a profile and we can arrange a chat around your employment preferences. Our consultative approach is focused on working with motivated candidates to find them the right opportunity in the market. We have strong client relationships which allow us open channels of communication. Timing is everything in recruitment and we can monitor the market on your behalf.

How long will it be before employers start hiring as usual again?

Hard to say. We’re certainly looking at a tighter employment market across all parts of Canada but many of our clients are planning to grow again in 2021. It’s likely we will observe extremely competitive employment markets for the next year or so as the economy contracts. Prior to Covid, the construction market was facing a huge shortage of workers so there has been a dramatic swing bringing us to an employer’s market once again.

As we adapt to a calming of the health crisis, we’re watching for any signs of strain in financial markets. The economic shock will impact all sectors of construction, but we expect commercial, industrial, and residential to be hardest hit. Public projects across institutional buildings and infrastructure will also be impacted, but investment in Canada’s infrastructure sector is long overdue and there is hope that Canada will maintain commitments to public infrastructure. We expect some major infrastructure projects to be postponed or cancelled as the Canadian government will likely try to balance their books after lots of welfare spending to counter higher unemployment levels. All in all, we expect Canada’s economy to perform relatively stronger than other Western economies as Canada doubles down on infrastructure spending as an economic recovery tactic. 

While there will be exceptions, most construction companies have started hiring again as they find their feet in the new normal.

I’m an unemployed jobseeker here in Canada right now, what advice can you offer?

As Canada adapts to a huge economic shock, finding employment will become difficult relative to the pre-Covid era. In construction, most clients are comfortable with their current pipeline but there remains some uncertainty as they look towards the future. Reduced budgets and falling construction costs may lead to clients delaying final decisions. Many companies will resist the temptation to hire in times of prolonged uncertainty. 

If you are a newcomer to Canada, we urge you to ensure that you have adequate emergency medical insurance (via public health plan or private means) to cover Covid-19-related risks.

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance in Canada, we urge you to register.

In terms of being proactive, we urge you to use our free resume templates and comprehensive Outpost blogs to help you return to the employment market as soon as possible. With high levels of unemployment expected in the post Covid-19 era, it’s critical that every candidate can up their game and present their work experience in the best possible manner. Investing time in your CV/resume will be the best time investment you can make as

My employment is uncertain / has been terminated. What action can I take?

We recommend you contact Service Canada and follow the relevant provincial guidelines to understand your employment rights. We highly recommend you research and prepare to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) if or when you receive negative news.

We highly recommend you research and prepare to apply for Employment Insurance (EI) so you can have your next steps planned if you do receive negative news.

I’m due to fly to Canada in early 2021 to activate my status in Canada. What should I do?

If you decide it is necessary to travel to Canada, your ability to enter the country depends on your immigration status. Canada has closed all international borders, including the Canada-U.S. border, to all foreign nationals unless you meet one of a handful of exceptions. For foreign workers, the most common exceptions are as follows: 

Work permit holders: Canada is allowing temporary workers who have already been issued a work permit or approved for a work permit to enter the country. The exception to this rule is IEC participants, who are only able to enter if they have already activated their work permit and had left Canada temporarily, or have already been approved for a work permit and have an offer of employment from a Canadian employer.

Canadian permanent residents: Canadian permanent residents are eligible to enter the country at this time. 

Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR-holders): If you were approved for Canadian permanent resident status prior to March 18, 2020, you are able to travel to Canada to activate your status. If you were approved after this date, you will have to wait for restrictions to be lifted. US residents who hold valid COPRs are also eligible to enter Canada at this time.

Please refer to this page for a list of other exemptions to travel restrictions.

Regardless of your status in Canada, if you travel to the country from any foreign country you will be subject to additional screening measures at the Port of Entry and you will be mandated to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. If you do not have a plan for your 14 day self-isolation, you may be denied entry. As of January 7, 2021, anyone travelling to Canada by air will also be required to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight.

Please note that immigration regulations are changing rapidly during the coronavirus outbreak in Canada. For up-to-date travel advice and information on how it may be possible to extend the validity period of your travel documents, please visit the COVID-19 and travel to Canada page on our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, and read the relevant instructions for the program you have been approved under. 

My immigration or work permit application is in progress, how long will it take to receive final approval? 

Canada’s immigration authorities have told applicants to expect delays in processing in the coming months. Applications are still being accepted and processed for most programs, but delays are likely. Please refer to this Government of Canada page for the latest information.

I was meant to start a new job in the coming months, will I still be able to start as planned?

You should contact your employer or recruiter directly if they haven’t already contacted you. It would be good to understand how the employer is handling the current circumstances and the likelihood that you will start your new job. Many staff at the companies undertook a period of remote work during the early months of the pandemic, but much of the construction workforce has returned to work on site. 

I recently moved to Canada, should I consider returning home until things can return to normal?

This is an important consideration, but is a decision that only you can make. However, now that we are many months into the health crisis, with no immediate end in sight, you likely have some understanding of what life will be like in Canada in the immediate future. Provided that you have been able to secure adequate housing, employment, and the other requisite comforts and supports to sustain yourself, Canada may be the place to stay.

How will I know when Outpost Recruitment has new employment opportunities again?

We will be sure to send notifications such as newsletters with job opportunities, once available. Make sure you create a profile with us so we can keep you updated.  We are excited to hopefully bring you good news down the line.

Where can I find more information about how COVID-19 may affect my move to Canada?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, has already helped thousands of people in Canada and around the world get to grips with this evolving situation. Moving2Canada offers:

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Bridge & highway construction projects in Canada’s transportation infrastructure sector

Big spending on transportation infrastructure: that’s the key to Canada’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Within the government’s commitment to increased infrastructure spending are a range of construction projects in the transportation sector. While transportation infrastructure projects, including plenty of highway construction, were on the docket even before COVID-19, necessary to address aging infrastructure and population growth in urban areas across the country, the pandemic has accelerated the spending on transportation.

In this article, we take a comprehensive look at some of Canada’s biggest transportation infrastructure projects, with an emphasis on highway construction, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase. Please note that we’ve excluded rail construction projects from this list, as we have published a separate guide exclusive to rail projects in Canada.

Do you want to work on one of these projects? Get in touch with us.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the infrastructure sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering)

Outpost Recruitment specialise in the following areas:

  • Executive leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Projects in Preconstruction / Procurement Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Preconstruction / Procurement Stage

Highway running through Salmon Arm, British Columbia
A portion of the highway in Salmon Arm, BC, pictured here, will soon be upgraded to include four lanes. | Photo by the Government of British Columbia

Trans-Canada Highway 1 into Salmon Arm (4-laning), Salmon Arm, BC — $184.7m

This project is an upgrading of the highway to a modern, 100 km/h, four-lane standard, which will allow traffic to move more safely and efficiently. Two separate contracts have been awarded:

1. Salmon Arm West — 1st Ave. SW to 10th Ave. SW

This portion of the Highway 1 Kamloops to Alberta program involves widening a 2.2-km section of highway to four lanes from 1st Ave. SW to 10th Ave. SW in Salmon Arm.

2. Salmon Arm West — 10th Ave. SW to 10th St. SW

This portion of the Highway 1 Kamloops to Alberta program involves widening 1.0 kilometres of highway from two to four lanes between 10th Ave SW and 10th Street SW in Salmon Arm.

Status: Works due to start in Fall, 2020.

Highway 1 Expansion: 216th St to 264th St, Langley (Greater Vancouver), BC — $257m

This project involves widening Highway 1 between 216th Street and 264th Street in Langley. Work involves widening a total of ten kilometres between 216th Street and 264th Street by adding a new high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction, reconfiguring the 232nd Street interchange, and adding a new underpass at Glover Road (BC Rail/Roberts Bank Connecting Rail Line) and the CP Rail crossing.

Status: RFQ due in early 2021. Highway construction is expected to start in 2021 and be completed by 2025.

Kennedy Overpass, Pitt Meadows (Greater Vancouver), BC — $140m

The project includes a new four-lane underpass beneath the rail crossing at Harris Road and a new two-lane overpass above the rail crossing at Kennedy Road which will serve CP’s Vancouver Intermodal Facility.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Holdem Overpass, Burnaby (Greater Vancouver), BC — $145m

A new four-lane road overpass for Holdem Avenue over the railway through Central Burnaby.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Portside / Blundell Road Improvements, Richmond (Greater Vancouver), BC — $100m

The project includes:

    • A new overpass on Portside Road at Blundell Road to cross over the CN rail line
    • Widening Blundell Road from two lanes to four lanes, between the No. 8 Road intersection and just west of York Road
    • A new bridge and extension of Portside Road over the No. 7 Road Canal

Status: RFQ released in Dec 2020.

Replacement of George Massey Tunnel, Vancouver, BC — $2bn+

The initial 10-lane bridge project was cancelled after the procurement process had been completed in 2017. Whether it takes the form of a smaller bridge, a new large tunnel, or an additional tunnel to twin the existing structure, we expect to see some movement on this project in 2021.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Anthony Henday Drive South West Widening, Edmonton, AB — $100m

The project will widen the existing 18-kilometre southwest portion of Anthony Henday Drive from Whitemud Drive to 111th Street NW. The current roadway was designed for 40,000 vehicles per day and is used by 80,000 vehicles per day.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 3 Twinning (Taber to Burdett), Southern Alberta — $153m

This project will twin Highway 3 from Taber to Burdett. Design on the project will begin immediately and construction will begin in 2021.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 11 Twinning, Alberta — $120m

Highway 11 will be twinned from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. The total distance of the new twinned highway will be 66 kilometers. 

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 3, Ontario — <$200m DBF

Widening of Highway 3 from two to four lanes between Essex and Leamington.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

Highway 17, Ontario — <$500m DBF

The four-lane expansion of Highway 17 between Renfrew and Arnprior.

Status: RFQ due in 2021.

QEW Garden City Skyway, Toronto, ON — $TBD

The existing QEW Garden City Skyway is a 48-span, high-level bridge that is 2.2 km long, 28m wide and carries the QEW over the Welland Canal, connecting the City of St. Catharines and the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. The Garden City Skyway Project includes construction of a new QEW Garden City Skyway twin bridge to the north and rehabilitation of the existing QEW Garden City Skyway.

Status: Currently in planning phase. RFQ due in 2021.

GTA West Highway (Highway 413), Greater Toronto Area, ON — $6bn

The GTA-West Highway would run from the Highway 401/Highway 407 interchange near Milton, to Highway 400 near Kleinburg.

Status:  This highway proposal, also known as Highway 413, was cancelled in 2018, but then resurrected by the current government. RFQ expected during 2021

Projects in Construction Phase

Construction on highway in Kicking Horse Canyon, British Columbia
Construction is underway for major highway improvements in Kicking Horse Canyon, pictured here. | Photo by the Government of British Columbia

Kicking Horse Canyon Highway, Golden, BC — $700m

The fourth phase of work on this project is 4.8 kilometres of highway in Golden, BC, and is expected to begin in Fall 2020.

Status: Awarded in September, 2020. Highway construction will begin by December, 2020.

Nordel Interchange, Greater Vancouver Area, BC — DB — $260m

The Highway 91/17 Upgrade Project will improve travel safety and efficiency on Highway 91, Highway 17, and the Highway 91 Connector.

Status: Awarded in September, 2020. Highway construction will begin by December, 2020.

Stoney Trail Bridges, Calgary, AB — $48m

Scope to widen the westbound bridge and build a new, stand-alone pedestrian bridge over the Bow River in southeast Calgary. The project will boost the number of lanes to four in each direction — currently the eastbound crossing has two lanes, while the westbound has three.

Status: Highway construction started in Spring 2020 and will continue until 2023.

Lower Lynn Improvement, North Vancouver, BC — $198m

A new overpass and on-ramps connecting Main Street/Dollarton Highway to the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing.

Status: Completion by mid-2021.

Pattullo Bridge, Vancouver, BC — DB — $1.4bn

The $1.4bn design-build lump sum contract specifies the delivery of a new four-lane suspension ~1.2km cable stay bridge crossing the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey.

Status: Project awarded in July 2020. New bridge to open in 2023, demolition of existing bridge due by 2025.

Calgary Airport Trail Expansion (Phase 2), Calgary, AB — $153m

The Airport Trail Phase 2 project will look to provide motorists with an improved connection to Stoney Trail, and create greater efficiency by building intersections at 19 Street NE and Barlow Trail.

Status: In progress since 2018. Completion by 2022.

QEW/Credit River Improvement, Greater Toronto Area, ON — DBF $200-500m

Construction of a new twin bridge north of the existing Credit River Bridge and rehabilitation of the existing Credit River Bridge.

Status: Project awarded in November, 2020. Construction is set to start in Q1 2021.

Gordie Howe International Bridge, Windsor, ON — $5.7bn DBOM

2.5-kilometre cable-stayed bridge with six lanes (three Canadian-bound and three U.S.-bound), and two approach bridges. The project also includes a 130-acre Canadian Port of Entry and a 148-acre U.S. Port of Entry. 

Status: Completion in 2024.

Highway 401, Greater Toronto Area, ON — DBOF $640m

The Highway 401 Expansion encompasses approximately 18 km of reconstruction and widening in the western part of the Greater Toronto Area, from the Credit River in Mississauga to Regional Road 25 in Milton. It consists of two 10-lane segments, two 12-lane core collector systems, and median high-occupancy-vehicle lanes. The scope of work also includes bridge reconstruction and replacement, structural culvert replacements, drainage and utilities work, and ecological restoration.

Status: In progress. Completion date scheduled for late 2022.

Highway 427 Expansion , Greater Toronto Area, ON — $616m DBFM

This project encompasses a new 6.6-kilometer extension from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive. Also includes a 4-kilometer road widening from Finch Avenue to Highway 7.

Status: Due for completion by 2021.

West Calgary Ring Road Project, Calgary, AB — DBFO — $1.42bn

The West Calgary Ring Road project will be completed in three parts — the north project (DB1), south project (DB2), and the West Bow River Bridge (WBRB):

  • North project — 3km of six- and eight-lane divided freeway between Highway 1 (Trans-Canada Highway) and the Old Banff Coach Road. Reconstructing 5km of Highway 1, 18 bridges, two interchanges, one flyover – 1 Avenue SW.
  • South project — 5km of six- and eight-lane divided freeway between Old Banff Coach Road and Highway 8 including seven bridges and four interchanges.
  • Bow River Bridge twinning — Twinning the bridge over the Bow River on the northwest segment of the ring road. Widening about 2km of northwest Stoney Trail from Crowchild Trail to Scenic Areas Link.

Status: Completion date of 2024.

Southwest Calgary Ring Road, Calgary, AB — DBFO — $1.42bn

The South West Project consists of 31 kilometres of six-lane and eight-lane divided highway, 14 interchanges, 47 bridges, one road flyover, one railway crossing (flyover), one culvert set, one tunnel, as well as three river crossings over the Elbow River and Fish Creek.

Status: Completion by 2021

Highway 104 Twinning, Nova Scotia — $718m P3

38-km length of highway that will include a two-lane twinned highway and 10 km of new four-lane twinned highway.

Status: Completion by 2023.

Highway 15 Twinning, Edmonton, AB — $200m

Plans call for the twinning of the Highway 15 bridge near Fort Saskatchewan, along with intersection improvements at Highway 37 and Highway 825. The project is projected to cost up to $200M. 

Status: Construction commenced in Summer, 2019. Project will be completed by end of 2021.

Tlicho All-Season Road, Northwest Territories — $411.8m P3

This three-year construction project will link Whati, traditionally a fly-in community on Lac La Martre, to nearby Highway 3, which loops around Great Slave Lake to the territory’s capital and largest city.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out some of our related guides:

As both a short-term and long-term economic strategy, Canada is set to welcome many more transportation infrastructure projects in the months and years to come. Expertise in major transportation projects is in demand so get in touch with the Outpost Recruitment team to learn more about opportunities that suit your experience.

If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, get in touch with us by creating your profile with Outpost Recruitment.

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Canada’s major healthcare and hospital construction projects

 

 

 

In order to recover from the economic impacts COVID-19, Canada is committed to heavy infrastructure spending. One of the main sectors set to benefit from this increased infrastructure spending is hospital construction. This article is your definitive guide to Canada’s ongoing and upcoming hospital construction projects. 

Below is a guide of active hospital construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.  

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the buildings sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Active roles:
Senior Project Manager, Healthcare | General Contractor | Vancouver / Toronto / Halifax
Project Manager – Design Build | General Contractor | Vancouver / Toronto / Halifax
Construction Manager, Healthcare | General Contractor | Vancouver / Toronto / Halifax

Projects in Preconstruction Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Preconstruction Stage

St Paul’s Hospital, Vancouver – DB – $1.9bn

The new hospital and health campus to be constructed at a new greenfield site will have capacity for up to 548 beds, which includes 115 net new beds. The site will be the home of several leading provincial programs and referral centres, including for heart and lung care, renal, eating disorders and specialty surgeries and transplants.

Status: RFP stage.  Project set to be awarded by Dec 2020. Due to open by 2026.

Lions Gate Hospital, Vancouver – $190m DB

Phase 3 of the Lions Gate Hospital Redevelopment Project. The scope of the project includes the design and construction of a new six-story acute care facility and minor renovations on Levels 0-2 in the adjacent Paul Myers South Tower and Northern Expansion buildings.

Status: RFP submitted in Q3. Award expected in Q1 2021.

Burnaby Hospital, Vancouver – $205m DBF / $185m CM

The design and construction of a new 6-level Inpatient/Outpatient Tower, a new 5-level expansion to the south side of the existing Support Facilities Building, renovations to levels 2-4 of the Support Facilities Building, and levels 0 and 1 of the Nursing Tower, including select mechanical and electrical elements and demolition of the Cascade and West Wing Buildings.

The construction cost of the Project is estimated to be approximately $390 million. The DBF Scope construction value is anticipated to be approximately $205 million and the CM construction value approximately $185 million.

Status: RFP issued in June 2020. Contract award in May 2021.

Burnaby Hospital Phase II, Vancouver – $750m

Phase II of redevelopment.

Status: RFQ to be issued in late 2021.

Mills Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Terrace, BC – $500m DBF

Development of a new, approximately 26,440 square-metres (284,500 square-feet) acute care hospital and integrated services facility. The hospital will be a centre for trauma services, orthopedic surgeries, pathology, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services, as well as a training site for medical students in the Northern Medical Program.

Status: RFP issued in Feb 2020. 

Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment Phase 2&3, Greater Vancouver – $1.2bn DBF

Phase two will include a new 350-bed acute care tower on the north side of the hospital with multiple floors for acute and critical care patients, an Emergency Department with a satellite medical imaging unit, an interventional floor with operating rooms, interventional radiology and cardiology suites, recovery suites, an underground parkade, main entrance, and rooftop heliport. Phase two will also incorporate energy centre equipment, information management/information technology infrastructure, and demolition of some existing buildings.

Phase three will include expansion of support areas such as the laboratory, pharmacy, medical imaging, cafeteria, administration offices and ambulatory care. It will also include expansion of pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, and conversion of some four-bed patient rooms into single or semi-private rooms.

Construction on phase two is expected to run 2020 to 2024, and phase three is expected to complete in 2026. The hospital will remain fully operational throughout construction.

Status: Client is currently negotiating with one vender.

Stuart Lake Hospital Redevelopment, Fort St. James, Northern BC – $116m DBF

Development of a new Stuart Lake Hospital to serve Fort St. James and the surrounding area. Design and construction of a new hospital with 9 in-patient acute beds, 18 long-term care beds, emergency care, medical imaging, laboratory, and supporting services and Primary Care Clinic. Includes the demolition of the existing hospital, construction of surface parking, landscaping, and redundant emergency access.

Status: RFQ issued in June 2020.

West Lincoln Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Greater Toronto Area – DBF $500m

Scope involves constructing a new, larger hospital on the property behind the existing facility. 

Status: RFQ is expected to be released in early 2021.

Corner Brook Acute Care Hospital, Newfoundland P3 DBFM $700m

The new 7-storey, 600,000 square-foot hospital will be connected to the 145-bed long-term care facility that Plenary Health is currently building on the site. It will have 164 beds with the same services currently provided at Western Memorial Regional Hospital, as well as an expanded cancer care program, including radiation services.

Status: Started in late 2019. Due for completion in 2023.

Cariboo Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, Williams Lake, BC $147m

Development of new clinical and support spaces that will be constructed in a new expansion and in renovated space on the existing Cariboo Memorial Hospital site. This includes the emergency department, medical/surgical inpatient units, maternal care and women’s health, mental health and substance use inpatient unit, pharmacy services and University of British Columbia faculty of medicine academic space.

Status: RFP to be issued in Q3 2020. Due for completion by 2025

Kingston General Hospital Development Phase II, Kingston, ON – $500 DBF

The redevelopment will see four buildings torn down and replaced with a tower of between 8 to 12 storeys, and within it will be operating rooms, a pharmacy, neonatal ICU, labs, a data centre and the emergency department.

Status: RFQ due in Spring 2021.

Bowmanville Hospital Redevelopment, Clarington, ON – $<200m

Construction of a new hospital wing, which will replace the existing north wing, along with a new emergency department, surgical services, critical care unit, inpatient units and diagnostic imaging.

Status: RFP in Winter 2021.

Richmond Hospital, Acute Care Tower, Greater Vancouver, BC – TBD

The 9-storey project includes a new emergency department and intensive care unit, and a new medical imaging unit. It will add 110 new beds, bringing the total at the hospital to 350.

Status: RFQ expected in 2021.

Nova Scotia Hospital Centre QEII Redevelopment – $2bn P3 DBF

Two components:

Halifax Infirmary Expansion – ~$1.6bn
Status: RFP issued for infirmary expansion in Dec 2020.  Companies to submit their proposal is Fall 2021. The successful bidder is expected to be announced in spring 2022.

Bayers Lake Outpatient Centre – $259m DB
Status: Contract awarded on Aug 21.

Dawson Creek Hospital Redevelopment – $378m

A new 70-bed hospital with a larger emergency room to replace their decades-old facility. The new hospital will be approximately 19,400 square metres (209,000 square feet) and will have 70 beds, an increase of 24, all of which will be in single rooms with ensuite washrooms. It will provide a range of surgical services as well as chemotherapy, ambulatory care, radiology, clinical support and pharmacy services.

Status: RFQ issued in Oct 2021. Construction due to start by end of 2021. Scheduled to open fall 2025.

Grandview Children’s Treatment Centre Redevelopment – $2bn P3 DBF

Construction of a new five-storey building in Ajax, Ontario.

Status: RFP issued in Sept 2020.

South Niagara Hospital – >$1bn DBFM

Construction of the 108,000 square metre hospital could begin in late 2022, with possible completion in 2026.

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2021.

Cowichan Hospital, BC – $500m

Replacement hospital which is set to triple the capacity of the existing hospital.

Status: RFP set to close in Spring 2021. Construction will start by Summer 2021.

New Surrey Hospital, Greater Vancouver, BC – $750m

Replacement hospital which is set to triple the capacity of the existing hospital.

Status: RFP set to close in Spring 2021. Construction will start by Summer 2021.

Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Redevelopment, ON – $200m BF

New hospital to be equipped with 18 in-patient beds with space to expand for another five beds, a 24-7 emergency department, diagnostic imaging, a surgical suite, dialysis and ambulatory care.

Status: Pre-RFQ.

Queensway Health Centre, ON – DBFM $500m-$1bn

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2021

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – Phase 1D Redevelopment, ON – DBF $500m-$1bn

A new, highly-specialized Forensics Building is the latest phase of a development at the CAMH.

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2021.

Mississauga Hospital Site, Toronto GTA – DBFM $2bn

Status: RFQ due in Winter 2022.

The Ottawa Hospital – Civic Redevelopment, Ottawa – DBFM $2bn

Status: RFQ due in Fall 2022.

Juravinski Hospital, Hamilton, ON – $1bn TBD

Early stages of development to replace the E, F, and M wings with a modern tower that will include space for growth.

Status: RFQ due in 2023.

Projects in Construction Phase

Surgeon standing in the Vancouver General Hospital's Surgical Centre
The Vancouver General Hospital’s Surgical Centre is on track to get a major upgrade in the coming years. Photo credit: Province of British Columbia.

St. Michael’s Hospital Redevelopment, Toronto – $300m DBF

The project will include the construction of a new 17-storey patient care tower at the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets, and the renovation of approximately 150,000 square feet of existing space.

Status: Change of contractor so the original completion date has been extended.

Cortellucci (MacKenzie) Vaughan Hospital, Toronto – $1.2bn DBFM

The new Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital will include a state-of-the-art emergency department, modern surgical services and operating rooms, specialized ambulatory clinics and intensive care beds.

Status: Substantial completion achieved in Sept 2020.

Michael Garron Hospital – Phase 1 Patient Care Tower, Toronto – $411m DBFM

The project involves the construction of a new 8-storey patient care tower and 3-storey connection, as well as demolition of some existing space and renovations to the existing hospital. The project will add up to approximately 550,000 square feet to the existing hospital. The project also involves renovation works of approximately 100,000 square feet of select areas within the existing hospital.

Status: Completion by 2022.

Hospital for Sick Kids, Toronto – $2.4bn DBFM

There are three phases to the project, which are expected to take a total of 10 years to complete:

A new 22-storey Patient Support Centre (ground was broken on this project in October 2019), the Peter Gilgan Family Patient Care Tower, and renovations to the existing campus.

Status: Patient Support Center due for completion by 2022. Remaining aspects due by 2030.

Calgary Cancer Centre, Calgary – $1.4bn DBFM

The new Calgary Cancer Centre (CCC) will be a world-class health-care facility and academic centre for the provision of cancer services in Southern Alberta. The CCC will be built at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC) site on the current parking Lot 7. The facility will increase cancer care capacity in Southern Alberta by consolidating and expanding existing services in the Calgary Zone to support integrated and comprehensive cancer care, as well as clinical, academic and research needs. The CCC will support and deliver interdisciplinary and integrated care based on a philosophy that accommodates research, education, and patient- and family-focused care, and improves patient outcomes.

Status: Completion by 2023.

Grande Prairie Hospital, Grand Prairie, AB – $650m DBFM

This new 64,000-square-metre hospital is expected to provide 200 beds, a cancer care centre, and a nursing and medical careers-training facility from the Grande Prairie Regional College.

Status: Completion by 2020.

Quebec City University Hospital, Quebec, QB – $2bn

The first phase of the multi-phase project includes the construction of the Integrated Cancer Centre, along with a new generator building, power plant, and parking. As of September, Phase 1 had reached 60 percent completion. The Integrated Cancer Centre is currently on schedule to welcome its first patient in December 2020.

Status: Completion of all phases by 2025.

Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), Montreal, QB – $3.6bn P3

This next phase consists of outpatient services, clinical and administrative offices, as well as an amphitheatre and parking lots. The new 772-room, 21-storey hospital is intended to consolidate the activities of the CHUM in one location.

Phase 1 delivered by OHL and Laing O’Rourke. Phase 2 performance was taken over by a local contractor.

Status: Ongoing.

Royal Inland Hospital – Patient Care Tower (PCT), Kamloops, BC – $417m

Construction will occur in two phases. The first involves design and construction of the tower, which will house 11 operating rooms, mental health and medical/surgical beds, a surgical suite, a perinatal centre with labour and delivery rooms, obstetrics and postpartum beds and a neonatal intensive-care unit. The second phase involves renovation and expansion of the emergency department, pediatric ward, post-anesthetic recovery ward and the morgue. More parking stalls will also be added to the main hospital structure. The plan is to enlarge the ER to the area where the main hospital elevators are located.

Status: The tower is expected to open in 2022, with the second-phase expansion expected in 2024.

Vancouver General Hospital – Surgical Centre / Upgrades, Vancouver, BC – $102.4m

Expansion of the surgical centre and upgrading a number of other areas in and around the hospital to help serve patients and families better. The project includes 16 new state-of-the-art operating rooms at the Jim Pattison Pavilion, a 40-bed hospital unit for care before and after surgery, new communication systems to manage activities for health professionals across two operating floors, upgraded infrastructure and additional storage and new administrative spaces.

Status: Completion by 2021.

Peach Arch Hospital Expansion – Emergency Department / Upgrades, Surrey, BC – $83.7m

Undergoing an emergency department expansion and upgrades to better serve the growing populations in White Rock and South Surrey. The project will be completed in two phases, featuring an expanded emergency department, five upgraded perioperative suites (operating rooms), and an expansion and renovation of the medical device reprocessing department. The expansion and upgrades are part of Fraser Health’s commitment across the region to modernize the health care network, build capacity and improve timely access to quality, patient-centred care closer to home.

Status: Ongoing.

St. John’s Mental Health and Addictions Facility, St John’s, NF – $330m

Six story, 102-bed hospital with 60-bed hostel to replace the Agnes Cowan Hostel, Parking garage for 1,000 vehicles, Modern features, like an art studio and a therapeutic mall terrace.

Status: Construction starts in Spring 2021 and completion by 2024.

If you’re interested in working on any of these projects, get in touch with us by creating your profile with Outpost Recruitment.

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Rail construction and railway jobs in Canada

Canada is committed to increased infrastructure spending to boost a post-Covid economy in Canada. With aging infrastructure and strong population growth in urban areas across the country, we take a deeper look at rail construction and the proliferation of railway jobs in Canada.

Below is a snapshot of active rail construction projects in Canada, categorized in terms of preconstruction or project delivery phase.  

Interested in working on one of these projects? Get in touch.

Outpost Recruitment is a leading talent agency that works with both local and international players in the infrastructure sector. Our clients include general contractors, subcontractors and consulting firms (program management and engineering).

Outpost Recruitment specialises in the recruitment of construction professionals across the following areas:

  • Executive Leadership
  • Operations 
  • Project Management
  • Commercial Management
  • Design Management
  • Site Supervision

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

Projects in Procurement Stage

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Construction Phase

Click any project title for more information.

 

Projects in Procurement Stage

View of Toronto's skyline from a railway yard
Toronto’s popular GO Transit system is set to undergo several major expansions in the coming years with billions of dollars flowing into its infrastructure development.

Ontario Subway Line, Toronto – P3 DBFM – >$10bn

The Ontario Line is a 15.5-kilometre stand-alone rapid transit line that will connect the Ontario Science Centre to Exhibition/Ontario Place. Over half of the route is planned to run underground through new tunnels, with the remainder running along elevated and at-grade rail corridor sections of track. Fifteen stations are proposed, with numerous connections to the broader transit network, including GO Transit rail services, the Toronto Transit Commission’s subway Lines 1 and 2, the future Line 5 (Eglinton Crosstown LRT), as well as numerous bus and streetcar routes.

The Ontario Line is being delivered as three separate public-private partnership (P3) procurement contracts set to deliver many railway jobs in Canada:

  • Ontario Line – Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel ($4bn) — DBF — RFP issued is Dec 2020. Financial close in Fall 2022
  • Ontario Line – Rolling Stock, Systems, O & M ($2bn) — DBFOM — RFP issued is Dec 2020. Financial close in Fall 2022
  • Ontario Line – North Civil, Stations and Tunnel ($4bn) – RFQ due in Spring 2022

Eglinton West LRT, Toronto GTA – TBD – >$5bn 

The proposed Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will bring even more rapid transit to Etobicoke and Mississauga to make it easier for people to get where they need to be each day.

The proposed extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT will run 9.2 kilometres from the future Mount Dennis LRT station to Renforth Drive and will operate mainly underground, helping to reduce travel times and improve access to jobs, schools and other destinations throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Status: Advanced tunnelling RFP issued on Aug 4th, 2020. Financial close in Spring 2021.

Scarborough Subway (Line 2 East Extension), Toronto GTA – TBD – >$4bn 

A new three-stop 7.8-kilometre Scarborough Subway Extension.

Status: Advanced tunnelling RFP ($1bn) issued on Aug 4th, 2020. Financial close in Spring 2021. RFQ for main works expected in Winter 2020 / Spring 2021

Scarborough subway extension plans

Yonge Street North (Line 1 Extension) Subway, Toronto GTA – TBD – >$5bn 

The planned Yonge North Subway Extension will extend 7.4 kilometres north from Finch Station to Highway 7. This critical rapid transit link will include up to 6 stations.

Status: RFQ due in Summer / Fall 2021.

GO Rail Expansion – GO Regional Express Rail (RER), Toronto – Various – $12bn+

The GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will transform the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network. System-wide infrastructure upgrades will include: adding tracks, expanding stations, electrification of the rail network, new locomotives, and train control systems to enable more frequent service.

The GO Rail Expansion is made up of 3 packages:

  • Package 1 — Enabling works — 14 separate projects underway
  • Package 2 — Stations and off-corridor
  • Package 3 — On-Corridor (tracks, civil works, electrification, rolling stock) RFP ($10bn) issued. Currently delayed. Financial submission due by mid-2021

GO Expansion: On Corridor –  $10bn DBOM

GO Rail Expansion will transform the transportation network in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area over the next decade. Metrolinx will transform the GO Transit rail network into a system that will deliver two-way, all-day service every 15 minutes over core segments of the GO Rail network. System-wide infrastructure upgrades will include: adding tracks, expanding stations, electrification of the rail network, new locomotives and train control systems to enable more frequent service.

Status: Financial close 2022

GO Rail Expansion – Union Station Enhancement – $500m Alliance Model

Construction of new platforms, two new tracks, a new concourse area and storm water management system, and other building systems. The Union Station Upgrade is being procured under the Alliance model.

Status: Contract awarded in Dec 2020.

GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – Central Corridor –  $500m BF

Two grade separations — Scarborough Golf Club Road and Morningside Avenue. Includes track and grading work from Galloway Road to Beechgrove Drive (approximately 3.4 km) and all supporting infrastructure, including retaining walls along the central segment of the Lakeshore East corridor

Status: RFP issued in April 2018. Financial close Summer 2021.

GO Expansion: Milton Corridor Upgrades –  $200m DBF

Includes Milton GO Station upgrades to the station building and Station Operations West Facility.

Status: RFP issued in April 2018. Financial close Spring 2021

GO Expansion: Lakeshore West Corridor –  $1bn DBB

Infrastructure improvements for Exhibition Station, Mimico Station, Long Branch Station, Clarkson Station, Kerr Street, Bronte Station, Burloak Drive, Drury Lane and the Lewis Road Layover Facility-Phase II expansion.

Status: Financial close Spring 2021

GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – West Corridor –  $500m BF

The infrastructure upgrades are required to help accommodate the planned expansion of GO Transit rail service on the Lakeshore East line.

Status: RFP issued in April 2018.

Surrey Langley LRT, Vancouver – TBD – $2bn+

This will be a 16-km-long Surrey Langley rail rapid transit project. The SkyTrain will travel on an elevated guideway along Fraser Highway. It will provide a seamless, eastward extension of the existing Expo Line. King George Station will connect to Langley Centre through Fleetwood and Cloverdale/Clayton.

The proposed project includes 8 stations, 3 bus exchanges, park and ride spaces, 55 SkyTrain vehicles, and an operations and maintenance centre. The project is expected to bring many railway jobs to the Vancouver area.

Status: Pre-procurement.

Green Line LRT, Calgary – DBF – $4.9bn.

The Green Line is a light rail transit (LRT) megaproject planned to run between north-central and southeastern Calgary. When completed, the Green Line will comprise 29 stations spanning 46 kilometres. Stage 1 of construction will feature 15 stations (9 at-grade, 4 underground, 2 elevated) and has been funded and approved by Calgary City Council. Construction of Stage 1 is anticipated to start in 2021 and will complete in 2027. The scope and funding of future extensions to the north and southeast have not yet been determined.

Status: Stage 1 RFP issued on July 24, 2020.

Structuring Public Transit Network, Quebec – Tramway Component – $3.3bn

The 22-kilometre tramway will connect Charlesbourg North to Sainte-Foy West, including 35 stations, three intermodal hubs, two terminus stations, a 2.6-kilometre tunnel, and two maintenance and storage facilities. The project will include a 30-year maintenance period.

Status: RFP issued in Sept 2020.

REM de l’EST, Montreal, QC  – $10bn

Plans for the REM de l’Est project include 23 new stations and 32 kilometres of light rail tracks, both above and below ground

Status: Project in planning phase

Projects in Construction Phase

Namur Metro transit line in Montreal
Montreal’s metro system, pictured here, is undergoing a major $4-billion expansion of its Blue Line. This is one of many major Canadian rail projects already in the construction phase.

Eglinton Crosstown, Toronto – $5.3bn P3

The Eglinton Crosstown is a light rail transit line that will run along Eglinton Avenue between Mount Dennis (Weston Road) and Kennedy station. This 19-kilometre corridor will include a 10-kilometre underground portion, between Keele Street and Laird Drive. The Crosstown will have up to 25 stations and stops. It will link to 54 bus routes, 3 subway stations and various GO Transit lines.

Status: Completion in 2021.

Hurontario LRT, Toronto – $4.6bn

18 kilometres of new dedicated rapid transit between the Port Credit GO Station in Mississauga and the Gateway Terminal at Steeles Avenue in Brampton. Includes 19 stops with connections to GO Transit’s Milton and Lakeshore West rail lines and a maintenance and storage facility for the light rail vehicles located south of Highway 407 and west of Kennedy Road.

Status: Completion by Fall 2024.

FinchWest LRT, Toronto – $2.5bn P3

This DBFM P3 light rail project will bring an additional 11 kilometres and 18 stops of public transit, as well as renew aging infrastructure, such as the Highway 400 overpass at Finch Ave W.
Status: Completion in 2022.

Trillium, Ottawa – $1.6bn P3

As part of the city’s Stage 2 LRT project, the Trillium Line PPP project will deliver 16km of new rail, 8 new stations, 1 major maintenance and storage facility for trains (trains depot) with capacity to up to 11 trains, and 10 new bridges.

Status: Major delays due to Covid. Completion by Aug 2022.

Ottawa LRT Phase II (Confederation Line West), Ottawa – $4.8bn P3

The second stage of Ottawa’s light rail project has grown from 30 kilometres of track to 44 kilometres, and from 19 stations to 24, extending the public transit system deeper into the suburbs of Orléans and Riverside South.

Status: Completion by 2024.

Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) LRT, Montreal – $6.3bn P3

67kms of new track with 26 stations. Construction: 2018-2023 (ongoing).

Status: Completion by 2023.

Blue Line Extension – $4bn

5.8-kilometres of track and five new stations to the current 12-station Blue Line, one of four Metro lines that runs through the Greater Montreal Area.

Status: Completion by 2026.

Broadway Subway, Vancouver – $2.83bn

5.7 km extension of the existing Millennium Line, from VCC-Clark Station to Broadway and Arbutus. Continuing from VCC-Clark Station on an elevated guideway for 700 metres, the extension will then travel underground along Broadway for 5km. The project includes 6 new underground stations, including an interim terminus station at Arbutus Street. 

Status: Recently awarded, construction due to start Fall 2020, completion by 2025.

Broadway Subway project outline

ValleyLine LRT Phase 1, Edmonton – $1.8bn

The 13-kilometer southeast leg of a new LRT in Edmonton.

Status: Currently behind schedule. Due for completion in Q3 2021.

 

ValleyLine West LRT Phase 2, Edmonton – $1.9bn DBF

Design, build and partially finance 14 kilometres of new LRT with 16 stops (14 street level, 2 elevated) over its length between Downtown and Lewis Farms.

Status: Preferred bidder announced in mid-November 2020.

 

Please get in touch at [email protected] if you notice any errors or omissions in this list of projects.

If you enjoyed this content, check out other relevant blogs:

Canada is set to be a hotspot for rail infrastructure projects and railway jobs, with some mega rail projects underway and in the pipeline. Rail expertise is in demand so get in touch with the Outpost Recruitment team to learn more about opportunities.

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Outpost Recruitment welcomes the award of the $2.8bn Broadway Subway project

The winning consortium for Vancouver’s much-needed Broadway Subway project learned their fate this week.

The Broadway Subway Project is a 5.7 km extension of the Millennium Line, from VCC-Clark Station (Commercial Drive) to the Broadway & Arbutus intersection in Kitsilano. It will provide fast, frequent, and convenient SkyTrain service to B.C.’s second largest jobs centre, world-class health centres, emerging innovation and research hub, and growing residential communities. Once in service, the trip from VCC-Clark Station to Arbutus Station will take 11 minutes, saving the average transit commuter almost 30 minutes a day and relieving congestion along the busy Broadway corridor served by the B-Line bus. As part of the Broadway Subway Project, six new underground stations will be built to connect communities and neighbourhoods. Construction will begin in fall 2020, with the line in service in 2025.

The project budget is $2.83 billion, funded and delivered by the Government of B.C., with contributions from the Government of Canada and the City of Vancouver. The Broadway Subway project is a key part of the rapid transit program in Metro Vancouver’s Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision. The Vision is funded by the governments of B.C. and Canada, TransLink, and local municipalities. As P3 project delivery has fallen from favour under the NDP government in BC, this project will be delivered as a design-build lump sum.

It’s been a long wait for a major transportation project in Vancouver and now with the $1.4bn Pattullo Bridge project in construction phase, Vancouver will have two mega projects coinciding.

Vancouver-based Outpost Recruitment are uniquely placed to assist in hiring for this project. Alongside their sister website, Moving2Canada, Outpost have been tracking local and international talent since 2011. “With the Vancouver market already stretched by a steady real estate market and a booming municipal infrastructure market, our clients enjoy our extended reach in national and global infrastructure talent,” commented founder Ruairi Spillane noting that B.C. continues to face a major labour shortage. “Despite the impacts of Covid-19, we expect to be very busy over the next 5 years as infrastructure is truly a global market and we help clients expand their reach and innovate through people using the latest technology and construction methods.”

“Overall, we’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with delivery experience in major projects and specific exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering Vancouver as a destination with Western Canada bouncing back quickly from the impacts of the pandemic and subsequent economic shock. We’re hopeful that limitations on international travel will be eased as BC continues to flatten the curve.

Outpost are urgently seeking candidates for the following roles across contracting and consulting. Recruitment for further key organization chart roles will commence quickly once positive news is received by our client.

Contractor roles:

  • Superintendent – Civil / Structural
  • Project Manager / Coordinators – Civil / Structural
  • Site / Field Engineer – Civil / Structural
  • Design Managers / Coordinators
  • Quality Coordinators, QA/QC Manager
  • Project Controls / Contracts Managers / Procurement
  • Rail expertise (signaling, SER, etc)
  • Commercial Managers / Contracts Manager / Quantity Surveyors
  • BIM Manager
  • Planner / Scheduler
  • Equipment Coordinator
  • Field Document Controller
  • Field Scheduler
  • Mechanical & Electrical Managers / Coordinators
  • Environmental Manager
  • Traffic Manager

Consulting roles:

  • Project Manager, Owner’s Representative
  • Civil / Structural Designers / Project Managers
  • Environmental consultants
  • Geotechnical design consultants
  • Cost consultants

Expertise in tunneling and rail design/construction is highly sought after to ensure the success of this project.

If you want to be part of this exciting venture, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. Sponsorship opportunities will only available to senior personnel (10+ years of similar infrastructure experience), so all other candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

 

Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the construction industry in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at r[email protected] for more details.

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Spring 2020 Pipeline Update: Ontario remains committed to $60bn infrastructure pipeline

Jun 18 2020 – $60-billion in new infrastructure projects will continue to move forward despite a global economic correction. That’s the update announced by Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott today (Jun 18 2020), with the P3 project pipeline expected to create many jobs and drive economic growth in Canada’s largest province with significant project development in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Scott predicts the projects will “generate thousands of jobs in the skilled trades, engineering, and design sectors.”

The plan outlines 32 P3 projects (public-private partnerships) already in active procurement or pre-procurement, plus 11 more projects in the planning stages. The pipeline of projects is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the construction sector, according to Scott, as key players in the industry will “partner with Ontario and successfully deliver the high-quality infrastructure that our province relies on and depends on.”

While the P3 project delivery format is immensely popular in Ontario, it is worth noting that other Canadian provinces are less enthusiastic about the public-private partnership model. BC’s NDP government, for example, has been moving away from the P3 model in recent years. Ontario remains firmly committed to infrastructure investment in Ontario and P3 project delivery which will stimulate the provincial economy post-Covid. This unprecedented investment will build critical infrastructure, create employment and deliver value for money using the P3 delivery model.

Thirteen of these projects are currently in procurement and another 24 projects are in the pre-transaction phase. In addition, 13 additional projects are currently included in the planning phase. The key updates are that some of the key transit projects have been fleshed out. Two new highway projects  (Highway 3 and Highway 17) will move forward. Many of the major hospital projects remain in planning mode.

The IO Market Update includes 16 new hospitals that will expand health care services across Ontario, plus a hefty lineup of transit projects in the GTA, including:

  • GO RER OnCorr electrification – Transit- $10bn
    • RFP issued in May 2019
  • Ontario Line subway – Transit – $10bn
    • Ontario Line – Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel RFP issued in June 2020 ($~4bn)
    • Ontario Line – Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations and Maintenance RFP issued in Jun 2020e ($~2bn)
  • GO Transit expansion projects – Transit – $2bn
    • GO Expansion: Lakeshore East – Central Corridor RFP issued in April 2018
      GO Expansion: Milton Corridor Upgrades RFP issued in April 2018
    • GO Expansion: Lakeshore West Corridor RFP issued in April 2018
  • Scarborough Subway Extension – Transit – $5bn 
    • Advance Tunnel for Scarborough Subway Extension RFQ issued in Mar 2020 (>$1bn)
  • Yonge North Subway Extension – Transit- $5bn
  • Eglinton Crosstown West LRT – Transit – $4bn
    • Advance Tunnel for Eglinton Crosstown West Extension RFQ issued in Mar 2020 (~$1bn)
  • Highway 3 (King’s Highway) – $200m
  • Highway 17 (King’s Highway 17) – $200-500m)
  • The Hospital for Sick Children – Institutional – $2bn
  • Windsor Regional Hospital – Institutional – $1bn
  • The Ottawa Hospital – Institutional – $2bn
  • Kingston General Hospital – Institutional  – $750m
  • Mississauga Hospital – Institutional – $2bn

Scott said that the project pipeline is the single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.

Cancellations:

  • Hamilton LRT – Ministry of Transportation reviewed and they will still commit to a $1bn investment in public transit in the area
  • Halton Courthouse – postponed due to Covid

Outpost Recruitment feels the impacts

Already the team at Outpost is feeling the impacts of Ontario’s ambitious infrastructure objectives, with founder Ruairi Spillane noting increased demand in the region.

“We’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with P3 delivery experience and exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as a destination. It’s the perfect storm for international candidates given both Toronto and Vancouver are expected to perform well despite the global economy entering a slowdown post-Covid. Infrastructure is truly a global industry. ”

Outpost works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and consultants who are hiring professionals across senior management, project management, operations, design, quality, and commercial roles.

  • Buildings & Infrastructure Contracting – Operations, Project Management, Design, Site & Commercial Management professionals for general contractors and subcontractors (civil, ground engineering, M&E)
  • Engineering Consulting – Civil / Structural / Mechanical & Electrical design and project management.
  • Cost & Project Management Consulting – Cost Management, Project Monitoring, Infrastructure advisory, Client-side project management.

Get in touch with Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] or 778-861-1244 if you would like to explore employment opportunities across Canada.

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The future of P3 project delivery in Canada

In November 2019, the annual CCPPP conference (Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships) took place in downtown Toronto. The conference attracts senior leadership from major industry players across Canada, from global contractors to engineering firms, and leading banks to boutique consultants. The public sector was strongly represented and attendees had the opportunity to listen to the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, who was joined by Ministers for Infrastructure from the provinces of Ontario, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and Alberta.

Here’s what we learned about the future of Public-Private Partnership (P3) project delivery in Canada:

Canada will maintain its commitment to P3 delivery after years of successes

Canada has enjoyed great success with Public-Private Partnership (P3) delivery over the past decade and this run is expected to continue with strong support nationally. Ontario has committed to $65bn of P3 projects across healthcare and transit in the coming years, while Alberta’s new government has voiced early commitment to furthering public-private partnerships. Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have also reaffirmed their commitment to P3 delivery with Saskatchewan recently completing the Regina Bypass ($1.4bn), the largest P3 project in their history, and New Brunswick opting for long-term private sector engagement as the province plans a wide range of schools and healthcare projects. 

Train on rails next to city buildings
Ontario is investing in transit infrastructure development through the expansion of the GO transit system ($16bn).

Canada has a huge pipeline of P3 infrastructure projects

Ontario’s recently announced $65-billion in new infrastructure projects demonstrates the province’s desire to firmly establish a pipeline of exciting future projects. Minister of Infrastructure for Ontario, Laurie Scott, referred to this as “single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.” The CEO’s of Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, Ehren Corey and Phil Verster, respectively, presented a session on Ontario’s $28bn transit plan. 

The enthusiasm expressed by both government and corporate entities signals a growing national interest in the P3 model, an interest we expect to continue growing in years to come.

Appetite from other provinces is strong as witnessed by the presence of senior government officials from Alberta, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Notably, British Columbia’s NDP government appears less enthusiastic about the P3 delivery model, though this lack of enthusiasm is offset by interest expressed by the other provinces. 

Changes are coming in risk allocation and mitigation

Canadian contractors feel they are carrying too much risk. SNC has pulled out of major project pursuits and Graham has taken a step back in 2019. Under current design build lump sum contracts, risks including permitting, geotechnical, and more that cannot be understood prior to starting the project, are being transferred to the contractor. 

In Ontario, feedback from potential bidders in the GO Expansion project ($16bn), previously known as Regional Express Rail (RER), to Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx has led to consideration of “revised delivery strategy” to address bidders’ issues. Options include breaking the project into smaller parts for procurement purposes or reducing the 35-year life span of the contract.

What’s the solution? It’s likely that Canada will see the benefits of an alliance delivery model like those used in the UK and Australia. Union Station in Toronto represents a test case as Canada’s first alliance delivery model. It is also possible that Canadian P3 projects may consider the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) option for infrastructure where clients, general contractors, and sub trades all win / lose together by sharing risk. This model would incentivize early client and consultant involvement and align all stakeholders

Large colourful buildings of a hospital
The Glen Campus of the MUHC Hospital in Montreal is just one recent example of the many healthcare infrastructure projects expected across Canada in the coming years.

What skills does Canada need right now?

Canada’s population is expected to grow from 36 million to 50 million by 2050. The vast majority of this population growth will be a result of an aggressive immigration plan. Without immigration, Canada’s rate of population increase is expected to fall below zero in the next 15 years. Most newcomers to Canada will live in major cities, with ambitious infrastructure development expected in order to compensate for population expansion. The P3 model will continue to prosper as provincial governments seek to maximize their return on infrastructure investment by seeking private participation in the construction of public assets such as:

  • Healthcare (hospitals, mental health facilities, etc)
  • Transportation (highways, bridges, rail, port expansion, airport expansion)

Outpost are seeking the following skillsets for clients actively engaged in the P3 infrastructure market

Contractors:

  • Project Management: Project Directors, Project Manager, Project Coordinators
  • Site management: Superintendents, Field Engineers
  • Design Management: Design Manager, Design Coordinators
  • Commercial Management: Commercial Managers, Contract Managers, Quantity Surveyors, Risk Managers

Project Management / Cost Consultants:

  • Cost Consultants, Cost Monitoring, Estimating Managers, Project Consultants

Design Consultants:

  • Design Engineers and Project Managers across Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Electrical and Geotechnical disciplines
  • Asset Management Consultant

If you have any of these skillsets and you’re interested in being a part of Canada’s P3 infrastructure boom, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. 

 

Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the P3 infrastructure sector in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] for more details.

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Immigration to Canada for construction and engineering professionals

Due to COVID-19, the Canadian border has been closed to many foreign nationals. However, individuals who have been approved for work permits and have arranged employment in Canada are still able to enter the country, although they do have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. For full details on Canada’s COVID-19 travel restrictions, as well as COVID-related changes to immigration programs, please refer to the COVID-19 Newsfeed on our sister website, Moving2Canada.

Welcome to the Outpost Recruitment guide to immigrating to Canada for construction and engineering professionals. The immigration experts at our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, helped us to develop this guide, which has been updated for 2020. Spending a few minutes now to become familiar with which Canadian immigration programs are open to construction and engineering professionals may save you time, money and stress in the long run.

Outpost Recruitment has been helping international candidates find jobs since 2011, and one of the key steps is to obtain the right to work in Canada. If you’re interested in working in Canada and don’t yet have a work permit or immigration status, here’s how to get going.

The short overview

First, let’s call this out: you may not need — in fact, probably don’t need — the support of, or sponsorship from, an employer in Canada in order to navigate the Canadian immigration system. Very often, we see quality candidates from all over the world who have worked in the Middle East, Australia, or elsewhere, who assume that moving to Canada has to involve leveraging a particular job offer.

Canada is quite different. There are work permit categories that don’t require a job offer, and there is a direct, and relatively quick, route to permanent residence (PR), even if you don’t have a job offer and even if you have never lived in Canada before. Canada welcomes workers through a variety of PR programs, as well through a range of work permit categories.

Some of these work permit categories come under what is known as the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which allows companies to petition the government to hire you, the foreign worker, to fill a specific role based on the need for someone with your skills and experience. This petition — as well as the actual document resulting from a successful application — is called a Labour Market Impact Assessment, or LMIA. Informally, this is often known in construction and engineering circles as “employer sponsorship”. The feasibility of obtaining a LMIA waxes and wanes with the economy, resulting in more LMIAs being issued to engineers and construction workers when times are good, and fewer when the market outlook isn’t so rosy.

Other work permit categories come under the International Mobility Program, which does not require employers or workers to get a LMIA (“employer sponsorship”) before you can begin working in Canada. Examples of work permits that may be obtained under the International Mobility Program include the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, international free trade agreements, and intra-company transfers.

It is almost always preferable to look towards getting a LMIA-exempt work permit (such as through the IEC program) before pursuing the LMIA route; it will likely take less time before you can get to Canada — suited or booted and ready for action — and your employer-to-be will appreciate not being dragged into the bureaucracy.

And what about PR? Well, over recent years Canada has pivoted to an economic immigration system, known as Express Entry, whereby those of you with plenty of work experience, a post-secondary education and English skills are prioritized for immigration, with processing times of around six months (sometimes less if you’re selected early and have your application ready; sometimes longer if you have to wait for an invitation and/or if you need to gather extra documents). With PR, you land in Canada with no time limit to your potential employment, and you can work for any employer, anywhere in Canada.

But that’s still six months, give or take, and the longer your potential employer in Canada has to wait for you, the more likely they are to start looking to hire someone else.

Provincial Nominee Programs, or PNPs, are another economic route to PR, but this also takes at least a few months from start to finish. These programs allow provinces to nominate workers with certain skill sets, and some provinces are on the lookout for construction and engineering professionals.

Work permits, especially LMIA-exempt work permits, can be obtained much more quickly. For this reason, as well the fact that Canadian work experience actually ends up giving you a heap of extra points for work experience obtained in Canada under Express Entry and PNPs, we recommend looking into getting a work permit first while also keeping an eye on your PR options.

Finally, studying in Canada as an international student allows you to work up to 20 hours per week while studying. Although this may not be an option for professionals seeking a full-time construction or engineering job, it is worth keeping in mind as an alternate pathway for immigration, particularly for spouses or partners who wish to accompany.

How can I find out if I’m eligible to move to Canada?

Canadian immigration authorities have a convenient tool on their website, called the Come to Canada tool. It takes a few minutes to fill out, and will give you an indication of which program(s) you may be eligible for.

Before using the tool, it’s a good idea to learn about the various options that are available for immigration to Canada. This means you can properly interpret the results provided. However, you should note that the tool only evaluates for programs operated by the federal government (i.e. the government of Canada), and does evaluate for those programs operated by the provinces (the PNPs). For this reason, we recommend the Come to Canada as a starting point, but it may not offer the sum of all your potential options.

There is lots of free assistance available online (such as the article you are now reading). However, if you have specific questions or concerns, we recommend seeking a professional consultation. This may entail a consultation fee, but if you are prepared with the questions you need answered, it could save you headaches, time and money later in the application process.

Our sister website, Moving2Canada, works with a range of regulated immigration consultants who can answer your questions and help you plan your move to Canada.

Let’s look at some of the Canadian immigration options for construction and engineering professionals in more detail.

IEC: International Experience Canada (Includes Working Holiday Work Permits)

Who’s it for?

Workers from more than 30 countries, including Australia, the UK, and Ireland, aged under 30 or 35, depending on the country. You can see the full breakdown of eligible countries, and the age requirements, on this list.

How does it work?

Every year, a number of open work permits are assigned to each participating country. Candidates can visit the Canadian immigration website and notify authorities of their desire to get one of these work permits.

After submitting this Expression of Interest, candidates may receive an invitation to apply for a work permit. With this invitation, candidates may submit forms and pay the application fees. Successful applicants receive a Letter of Introduction, which is presented on arrival in Canada in order for the work permit to be issued.

IEC program is usually open for about nine months each year, but your chances of receiving an invitation will depend on your nationality.

What’s the advantage?

For eligible candidates, it’s typically an easy way to get a work permit for Canada. The IEC program allows you to live and work in Canada for up to two years, depending on your nationality and the IEC category. Candidates under the working holiday category may obtain an open work permit, meaning they can work for almost any employer in Canada.

The IEC program is a gateway to permanent residency, as the work experience you gain in Canada may give you an advantage when applying for permanent immigration to Canada.

How much does it cost?

CAD$250, including the IEC participation fee and open work permit fee for working holiday work permits.

In the Young Professional and International Co-op categories, your employer also needs to pay the CAD$230 employer compliance fee.

How long does it take?

Once candidates express their interest in obtaining a work permit, they need to wait for an invitation to apply before they can submit their application forms. It can take days, weeks, or even longer to receive this invite, as they are issued to candidates at random.

However, once the forms and payments are submitted, it should take about eight weeks to receive your Letter of Introduction. We have seen Letters of Introduction issued sooner than that in many cases.

Other considerations

The time limit on the work permit means you may be better off applying for PR soon after getting the permit if you’re eligible to do so (though you may pursue both options simultaneously). In some countries, notably the UK, demand for IEC work permits usually far outstrips supply and thousands of candidates may be disappointed.

Some employers regard the limited duration of the work permit as too short, as they’ll be looking to hire staff who can stay with the company for a longer period. Also, some employers regard the ‘working holiday work permit’ as a transient permit, and may question participants’ career aspirations as a result. It’s up to you to correct that judgment in your potential employer’s eyes.

Open work permits for spouses and partners of IEC participants

If you are an IEC participant then your spouse or common-law partner may be able to obtain an open work permit and accompany you to Canada. In order for your spouse or partner to obtain an open work permit, you must be employed in Canada in a skilled occupations (National Occupational Classification skill level 0, A, or B) and must submit documentation proving this as part of your spouse or partner’s application.

This works both ways, too. If you’re struggling to gain work authorization in Canada and your spouse or partner is eligible for IEC, they may be able to get their IEC work permit and have you accompany them after they secure a skilled occupation.

Where can I learn more?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada, explains more in its Working Holiday Visa in Canada guide.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

Who’s it for?

Candidates who have been offered a job by a Canadian employer. The employer will need to pay relevant fees, and prove conclusively that no suitable Canadian citizen or permanent resident could be found to perform this job. The employer will also need to meet other requirements in order to be deemed eligible to hire the foreign worker.

There are two types of LMIA: one for temporary work in Canada under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and the other for permanent immigration through Express Entry. This section deals specifically with the LMIA-based work permit under the TFWP.

What’s the advantage?

For foreign workers who may otherwise be unable to secure a work permit, or find it difficult to do so, the TFWP offers an opportunity to work in Canada for a specific employer.

For employers, obtaining a LMIA allows the business to fill labour shortages.

How much does it cost?

Under the TFWP, employers need to pay $1,000 per position they’re filling. If the LMIA is approved, the worker must then apply for a work permit, entailing a fee of $155.

How long does it take?

A LMIA application may take a 2–4 months, including the time the employer has to advertise the position before asking the government for permission to hire you.

Other considerations

LMIA-approved foreign workers do not receive an open work permit, and are instead tied to a particular employer. This means they have less immediate flexibility should they wish to change employer at a later date, unless in the meantime they have pursued another immigration or work permit option.

Where can I learn more?

Our sister website, Moving2Canada, has a full explanation of the LMIA process.

Express Entry

Who’s it for?

Open to skilled, educated foreign workers, with ability in English and/or French. Individuals of any age may become a candidate, but preference is given to younger workers seeking immigration to Canada.

How does it work?

Since January 2015, candidates can visit the Canadian immigration website and express their interest in becoming a permanent resident. Eligibility may be through any of the three Express Entry-linked programs:

  • Federal Skilled Worker: You must score at least 67 points out of 100. Points are awarded for age, education, language ability, work experience, and other factors.
  • Canadian Experience Class: For workers with ongoing or recent skilled Canadian work experience.
  • Federal Skilled Trades: For tradespersons with experience in an eligible occupation.

The criteria for each program is different, and it is possible to be eligible for more than one. For example, if you have a mix of foreign and Canadian work experience, you may be eligible for both the FSWC and the CEC.

If eligible, you are assigned a score (out of 1,200) based on your education, career history, and other personal details, and will be ranked against other candidates under what is called the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Every few weeks, the top-ranking candidates are invited to apply for Canadian permanent residence. While in the pool, candidates can strive to increase their CRS points total, and thus their ranking, by proving better human capital factors, for example by re-taking a language test or completing additional work experience.

Moreover, a candidate may obtain a qualifying job offer or a provincial nomination through one of the many Express Entry-aligned Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) streams. A provincial nomination is particularly valuable, as it results in 600 additional CRS points being awarded to the candidate, who will then be invited to apply in a subsequent draw from the pool.

What’s the advantage?

Express Entry has proven to be a quick system, with more than 80 percent of applications processed within six months. The process is entirely online, and it is easy to track the status of the application online.

Furthermore, Express Entry is a system that rewards proactive individuals who can prove to the government that they are likely to be economically successful upon settlement in Canada.

How much does it cost?

About $2,000–$2,500, including educational and language assessments, obtaining documents, and payment of fees, if you complete the process yourself.

Hiring representation (i.e. a regulated lawyer or consultant) would entail additional fees, but this is a price that many candidates feel is worth the outlay. Moving2Canada has partnered with a number of experienced representatives who can help candidates with their immigration goals.

How long does it take?

About 4–6 months from when you submit the application. In advance of this, additional time may be required to complete any relevant tests and obtain documents.

Other considerations

Success in this system is not guaranteed, as the government invites only a portion of candidates from the pool when it conducts one of its draws. However, the government has stated that the Express Entry pool is now the main source of economic permanent residence applications, and over time the CRS cut-off threshold has decreased.

Where can I learn more?

See the Express Entry Canada guide on Moving2Canada, our sister website.

Provincial Nominee Programs

Who is it for?

If you intend to reside in a specific province and you fit that province’s criteria, the PNP route may be for you. PNP streams often favour individuals with prior connections to the province, either through work experience, study, or family connections. However, you may be eligible to apply or invited to apply, as the case may be, without a connection — especially if you target provinces that welcome applications from construction and engineering professionals.

Which provinces are looking for construction professionals and/or engineers?

Some provinces, such as Ontario, receive applications from across the labour market, including a broad range of skilled workers; this may include construction professionals and engineers. Other provinces, however, have zoned in and explicitly said they want exactly these kinds of workers to fill jobs locally.

For example, the province of British Columbia offers the BC Tech Pilot, which was launched in 2017. The BC Tech Pilot has an eligible occupations list that includes civil engineers, mechanical engineers, electrical and electronics engineers, and chemical engineers. Eligible workers in these fields are prioritised for settlement in BC. Learn more here.

Another example would be Manitoba, where construction estimators and managers, industrial mechanics, and engineers (civil, mechanical, industrial, electrical) are all on the skilled worker in-demand occupations list. Learn more here.

Then there are also those provinces that focus more on transitioning temporary workers to permanent residence, rather than seeking newcomers in specific occupations (all the more reason to seek out a work permit first). Alberta would be an example of this strategy.

With more than 70 PNP streams in total, providing a full run-down here isn’t feasible. However, our sister website, Moving2Canada.com, recently added a great new tool so that you can filter through all of these in just a few seconds. Just input your occupation and/or other preferences, and the PNP Live Tracker Tool will work its magic to tell you which PNP stream(s) may be right for you.

How does it work?

If eligible, you first apply to the province for a provincial nomination. Some PNP streams require you to submit an expression of interest before you may be invited to apply.

Upon obtaining a nomination, you then apply for permanent residence.

Some PNP streams are aligned with the Express Entry system. These are known as enhanced streams. A nomination obtained through an enhanced PNP stream results in an Express Entry candidate being awarded 600 additional Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points, effectively guaranteeing that an invitation to apply (ITA) for immigration to Canada will be issued. The application for permanent residence will be receive priority processing by the federal government, with a processing time target of six months or less.

PNP streams that are not aligned with Express Entry are known as base streams. A nomination certificate obtained through a base PNP stream does not alter a candidate’s Express Entry CRS score. Indeed, eligible individuals may apply to a base PNP stream without ever having an Express Entry profile, and base PNP streams may offer a pathway to permanent residence for individuals who are not eligible to enter the Express Entry pool.

What’s the advantage?

For Express Entry candidates who have not yet met the CRS cut-off threshold set in Express Entry draws, enhanced PNP streams offer the opportunity to obtain additional points, resulting in the issuance of an ITA. For individuals not eligible for Express Entry, base PNP streams leave the door open for economic immigration to Canada.

How much does it cost?

That depends on the province and the stream. Some provinces allow individuals to make an expression of interest in immigrating to their province free of charge, with fees to be paid if or when an invitation to apply to the PNP is issued and a subsequent application submitted. Other PNP streams operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and consequently a processing fee would be demanded up front.

How long does it take?

As this is a two-step process, application processing times include a provincial processing stage and a federal processing stage, and both stages should be taken into account when considering the overall time it may take from start to finish.

Provincial stage: Some provinces publish updated processing times. Click any of the links below to find out more.

Ontario | Alberta | BC

Federal stage: For enhanced PNP streams, the federal processing time is usually under six months. For base PNP streams, average processing times at the federal stage are currently 15-19 months (as of February, 2019).

Other considerations

Applicants should have the intention to live in the province they are applying to. Once Canadian permanent residence has been granted, permanent residents have the right to live and work in any Canadian province or territory.

Where can I learn more?

In summary

Program/
system

Result

Typical
timeline

Employer sponsorship
required?

IEC Work permit (1-2 years) 2 months No
LMIA Work permit (1-3 years) 2-4 months Yes
Express Entry PR 4-8 months No
PNP PR 6-24 months + Depends

The goal of this page is to give you an idea of what the main Canadian immigration options are for construction and engineering professionals. It doesn’t cover every single program or answer every last question. If you’d like to take a deeper dive into all the programs available, please visit the comprehensive Canadian immigration guide on Moving2Canada.com.

I’m ready to immigrate to Canada. What do I do when I have my work permit or immigration status?

Talk to Outpost! Since 2011, we’ve specialized in finding work for construction and engineering professionals, with companies across Canada who value international work experience.

When you have your immigration or work permit status submitted or secured, get in touch and we can explore your opportunities when you immigrate to Canada.

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Construction Job Titles & Salaries in Canada

There are many perks to careers in construction in Canada, but transitioning as a newcomer can be difficult. When you lack local experience it’s crucial that you get up to speed on the local market as quickly as possible. At Outpost Recruitment, we understand what employers are looking for when assessing international candidates and are committed to ensuring that our candidates find successful careers in construction. 

In our blog series, we’ve dealt with topics such as adapting your resume, networking, and organizing your job search, but in this article, we’re focusing on how to map your international experience to a role within construction in Canada.

First things first: don’t expect an employer to identify the best position for you. Do your research, target specific roles, and try to understand your strengths and weaknesses with regard to the local candidates you are competing against. This will help you in your quest to pursue a great career in construction in Canada.

It’s also essential to understand what the job titles used in various careers in construction in Canada actually mean. To help you out, we’ve built the following list of common job titles in construction and provided details on what to be aware of when comparing construction in Canada to international markets. Please be advised that we haven’t gone into detail about the generic duties and responsibilities of each role.

Note: The salary ranges outlined below are dependent on experience, education, project experience, location, etc. These ranges (in CAD) are purely a guide and are typical for permanent roles, with salaries for remote roles and shift rotations likely to vary. Superstars may well breach the upper salary limits.

Pre Construction job titles:

  • Pre Construction Manager – Client-facing role involving business development with a focus on coordination of pursuits and the tender process. Works on preparing early paperwork requirements prior to breaking ground and before handing over to a Project Manager.
    • Salary: $100k – 180k
  • Chief Estimator – Leads estimating team.
    • Salary: $120k -180k
  • Estimator – In Canada, general contractors will typically prepare their own Bill of Quantities for a tender. Some firms will allow an Estimator to help deliver a project once they have been successful but it’s more typical for an estimator to be focused solely on pre construction duties. Most companies seek career Estimators who are satisfied with focusing on estimating.
    • Salary: $60k – 160k
  • Design Manager / Design Coordinator – common role for design build projects from $50M upwards. There may be specific design roles for Civil/Structural, Mechanical, Electrical or combined roles depending on the complexity of the project.
    • Salary: $100k – 160k / $70k – $120k

Project Management job titles:

  • Project Manager (PM) – Typical role will include pre construction and project delivery functions such as planning, scheduling, budgeting, cost control, and contract administration. A key difference in construction in Canada is that the Project Manager will assume commercial responsibility for the project. The PM will deal directly with the client and subcontractors.
    • Salary: $90k – 160k
  • Senior Project Manager <> Construction Manager (CM) <> Project Director – Interchangeable construction job titles that describe an experienced PM who will oversee multiple projects and manage lower-level PMs.
    • Salary: $130k – 200k
  • Project Coordinator (PC) <> Junior PM <> Assistant PM – Project management role which focuses on any of the main PM duties. This role is typically a training area for aspiring Project Managers or a sandbox for international Project Managers while they adapt to the Canadian market. Some PCs may have a specific on-site focus, a commercial focus, or focus on project planning/scheduling. The Project Coordinator role will vary in terms of time spent in the office versus time spend on site.
    • Salary: $60k – 100k
  • Scheduler / Planner Emerging role for larger construction projects. Contractors are seeking experienced project planners now beyond candidates who are strong with scheduling software such as Primavera P6.
    • Salary: $120k – 180k

construction in Canada

Site Management job titles:

  • Site/Project Superintendent – Often coming from a trades background for buildings projects, this role will typically be held by an engineer for more complex technical projects. This role manages and supervises site operations for the project.
    • Salary: $90k -180k
  • Civil / Mechanical / Electrical Superintendent – Typically coming from a trades background, this role manages and supervises site operations for a specific discipline on larger projects.
    • Salary: $90k -160k
  • Foreman <> Assistant Site Superintendent <> Lead Hand – More common on larger projects where the Superintendent requires support for site operations.
    • Salary: $90k -160k
  • Health & Safety Manager / Advisor <> Certified Safety Officer (CSO) – This is often a career Health & Safety professional but may sometimes be an experienced tradesperson who is no longer keen to work on the tools.
    • Salary: $90k -130k  / $70k -100k
  • Field Engineer <> Site Engineer – This role is focused on technical engineering aspects of site operations and is more common on large infrastructure projects but may appear on a large buildings project ($40M+).
    • Salary: $60k -100k
  • M&E Project Manager / Coordinator – In recent experience, this role is more common for larger buildings projects (CAD$40M+). Depending on the size of the project there may be specialized Mechanical or Electrical PMs or PCs.
    • Salary: $90k -160k / $70k -100k
  • Quality Manager / Coordinator – Common for large infrastructure or building projects which will encompass quality audits and processes for construction.
    • Salary: $80k -160k

Commercial Management job titles:

  • Commercial Manager – Across buildings sectors, the commercial management function is often led by the Project Manager for projects up to $200m. Across infrastructure, contractors will always hire Commercial Managers to work in pre and post contract duties. This is an emerging commercially-focused role, but not very common in construction in Canada except for large projects (CAD$40M+) as commercial duties are typically under remit of the PM.
    • Salary: $120k – 180k
  • Contracts Manager Typically seen more often in infrastructure construction. In buildings, a Project Manager or Project Coordinator will likely carry out contract formation and administration activities.
    • Salary: $80k – 150k
  • Project Controls Manager – North American role which combines contract management, accounting, and progress reporting for projects.
    • Salary: $120k – 160k

Job titles that are not typically seen in careers in construction in Canada:

  • Quantity Surveyor – All cost control and commercial management duties for the project are part of the PM’s remit. A QS moving to work in construction in Canada must either find a rare Commercial Manager role, or reinvent themselves as a project management professional (PC or PM). Quantity Surveyors tend to adapt and become excellent commercially aware Project Managers. If keen to pursue a career in pre construction, a Quantity Surveyor can work as an Estimator. This is one of the most popular careers in construction for newcomers in Canada.
  • Contract Administrator – These duties within Buildings and Infrastructure will most likely be picked up by a PC who has a focus on costs and contracts.  This role can often be found on large projects ($40M+) but is not very common. It’s more common in the Industrial sector to see this role.
  • Site Agent – This common role in the UK is a combination of a PM and Superintendent. A Site Agent will need to decide on a site-focused (Superintendent) or project management (PM) role.
  • Project Engineer – This role is more commonly seen with engineer consultancy firms. In construction in Canada, you may see a Project Engineer role on larger infrastructure or industrial projects.

Careers in construction in Canada: Where to start?

When it comes to transitioning to one of the many careers in construction, it is vital that you get off to a good start. To help you achieve this goal, we at Outpost Recruitment have compiled some top tips that will help you hit the ground running.

Stay humble

It is important to remember that whether you’re starting a career in construction from scratch or transitioning from another sector, you may have to bide your time before landing your dream job. It is vital to use this time as an opportunity to learn and gain experience before progressing your career.

Be passionate

If you are eager to excel in your career in construction then you need to be passionate about what you do. Why settle for simply being good at what you do when you can be great? The best construction candidates we work with at Outpost Recruitment are always eager to better themselves by acquiring new techniques and developing professionally.

Be persistent

If you want to be a success in your career in construction in Canada then it is likely you’ll have to be persistent. You may not get your dream job right away, but by remaining persistent you stand a great chance of succeeding in the long run.

Professional Engineer Status

Engineers from abroad can’t use ‘Engineer’ in their job title until they are registered with their provincial engineering body and have obtained their Professional Engineer (P Eng) status. This usually takes a couple of years in Canada.

International candidates who hold their Chartership can gain P Eng status via the Washington Accord once they gain 12 months of Canadian work experience and sit an ethics exam.

‘Engineer-in-training’ is a term is used by engineering graduates who are working towards their P Eng status. Chartered engineers can transfer their status to Canada once they register with the provincial P Eng body.

Refer to Engineers Canada and specific provincial engineering organizations if you need more information

Gold Seal Certification and careers in construction

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) Gold Seal Certification Program is a comprehensive certification program that is internationally recognized. Candidates need to fulfill two years of local Canadian experience. The qualification is interchangeable with the CIOB Chartership from the UK.

CONTINUE READING: Explore the Outpost Recruitment blog series for more straightforward career advice.

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Find your role in Ontario’s new $65-billion infrastructure project pipeline

$65-billion in new infrastructure projects. That’s the ambitious plan announced by Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure Laurie Scott last week, with the P3 project pipeline expected to create many jobs and drive economic growth in Canada’s largest province with significant project development in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Scott predicts the projects will “generate thousands of jobs in the skilled trades, engineering, and design sectors.”

Known as the 2019 Infrastructure Ontario (IO) Market Update, the plan outlines 32 P3 projects (public-private partnerships) already in active procurement or pre-procurement, plus 11 more projects in the planning stages. The pipeline of projects is anticipated to have a substantial impact on the construction sector, according to Scott, as key players in the industry will “partner with Ontario and successfully deliver the high-quality infrastructure that our province relies on and depends on.”

The IO Market Update includes 16 new hospitals that will expand health care services across Ontario, plus a hefty lineup of transit projects in the GTA, including:

  • Hamilton LRT – Transit – $1bn
  • GO RER OnCorr electrification – Transit- $10bn
  • Ontario Line subway – Transit – $10bn
  • GO Transit expansion projects – Transit – $2bn
  • Scarborough Subway Extension – Transit – $5bn
  • Yonge North Subway Extension – Transit- $5bn
  • Eglinton Crosstown LRT – Transit – $4bn
  • The Hospital for Sick Children – Institutional – $2bn
  • Windsor Regional Hospital – Institutional – $1bn
  • The Ottawa Hospital – Institutional – $2bn
  • Kingston General Hospital – Institutional  – $750m
  • Mississauga Hospital – Institutional – $2bn

 Scott said that the project pipeline is the single largest commitment to P3 projects in the history of Ontario.

Outpost Recruitment feels the impacts

Already the team at Outpost is feeling the impacts of Ontario’s ambitious infrastructure objectives, with founder Ruairi Spillane noting increased demand in the region.

“We’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with P3 delivery experience and exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering Toronto as a destination. It’s the perfect storm for international candidates given both Toronto and Vancouver are booming right now.”

Outpost works with general contractors, subcontractors, developers, and consultants who are hiring professionals across senior management, project management, operations, design, quality, and commercial roles.

  • Buildings & Infrastructure Contracting – Project Management, Design, Site & Commercial Management professionals for general contractors and subcontractors (civil, ground engineering, M&E)
  • Engineering Consulting – Civil / Structural / Mechanical & Electrical design and project management.
  • Cost & Project Management Consulting – Cost Management, Project Monitoring, Infrastructure advisory, Client-side project management.

Get in touch with Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] or 778-861-1244 if you would like to explore employment opportunities across Canada.

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Top Construction and Engineering Jobs in Canada

For newcomers to Canada with a background in construction, choosing the right construction job or engineering role is one of the most important aspects of their move. Your experience and talents are key factors, but you also need to know which roles are the most in demand construction and engineering jobs in Canada.

Outpost Recruitment specializes in construction and engineering roles across Canada. With years of combined experience, we have positive relationships with clients from coast to coast. We place candidates in sectors like general contracting, design engineering and project management consulting, property development, and across ICI (Institutional Commercial and Industrial) buildings, infrastructure and industrial sectors. Our experience in mentoring and placing local and international talent in construction jobs across Canada and frequent exchange with major companies in these sectors allows us to identify those roles most frequently in demand.

In recent years, we’ve seen a huge increase in activity in various construction and engineering related industries across Canada, particularly in major cities like Vancouver and Toronto, but also regional areas across British Columbia. This includes mega projects like LNG Canada, but also a range of other municipal and regional projects. Our diligence to our work means we detect trends early on, and recently we have seen the demand for a number of top construction and engineering roles grow and grow thanks to the thriving markets in Canada. You can read more about these positions below:

 

Construction Project Manager

Job Description:

Construction Project Managers are responsible for providing overall management direction for projects, as well as being able to develop business opportunities with existing clients and developing relationships with new clients in terms of geographical and project-type priorities. Other tasks for a Construction Project Manager include the overseeing of project operations, particularly in terms of reaching profitability goals, duty assignment, health and safety implementation, budgets, scheduling and team communication.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

Candidates for a Construction Project Manager job in Canada typically need a post-secondary Degree in engineering or the equivalent of a designated Professional Engineer or a Technical School graduate in a construction-related discipline. A minimum 5 years’ related construction experience are usually required for Project Manager roles. Project Coordinators (Project Coordinator, Assistant Project Manager and Junior Project Manager are used interchangeably in Canada) require a minimum 3+ years of experience. Other required qualifications include experience with construction management and design/build formats and familiarity with computerized project management systems, including scheduling, estimating, planning and cost control.

Candidates for this role are sought across Canada. We’ve identified needs specifically in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton and currently have clients looking for promising candidates for this type of construction job. If you are ready to build your career in Canada with us, then apply here!

Commercial Manager, Infrastructure

Job Description:

Commercial Managers are responsible for all financial aspects of the project or portfolio they manage. In infrastructure construction job environments, Commercial Managers usually perform the following construction management related tasks: project design management, contract administration and negotiation, project planning, administering of sub-contracts, contract resolution, project planning, as well as commercial issues such as procurement, commercial reporting, cost control and risk management.

In addition, Commercial Managers are responsible for the strategic development that ensures business and revenue growth targets are met.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A Bachelor’s degree in a related field and/or corresponding professional membership is required for most positions. Experienced Commercial Managers are especially sought after, and we see that candidates with a minimum of 6 years commercial management experience on major projects strive in the current Canadian construction jobs market.

A candidate’s background matters strongly for these construction management jobs in Canada. Candidates currently operating at executive level on a major project or as commercial manager in a large construction company, or with experience in managing major subcontracts and design consultancies or with previous major project Joint Venture experience are at an advantage.

Hiring managers are usually looking for a proven track record in delivering commercial outcomes on major projects, and the ability to operate and manage at the executive level of the Project structure in a PPP/PFI environment.

Opportunities for commercial management candidates exist all over Canada. We currently have clients with needs for experienced candidates in Vancouver and Toronto, as well as some fly in fly out (FIFO) opportunities in remote locations. If you are interested in building your career with an attractive commercial management position, then apply here!

Construction Project Manager, Infrastructure

Job Description:

On infrastructure projects the Construction Project Manager is one of the most important construction management jobs. The Construction Project Manager can expect to work closely and report to the Project Director. Project Managers are responsible for ensuring that the entirety of the project is completed safely, on schedule, and in compliance with the contract schedule and project budgets. On top of that, a successful Project Manager should be able to maintain positive relationships with the owner and other relevant stakeholders. The Project Manager also supports the successful acquisition and tendering of various projects, as well as providing overall administrative direction, technical expertise and additional support to project teams. While the general responsibilities of a Construction Project Manager in Canada don’t vary too much between general construction jobs and infrastructure management, the specific project experience can differ widely.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

Infrastructure construction project managers are required to possess education including an engineering degree, technical college diploma or equivalent combination of technical training and/or related experience.

Outpost Recruitment partners are particularly seeking senior Project Managers in infrastructure construction jobs, with a minimum of 7 years of experience. At this level the Project Manager needs to act with independence and lead administrative as well as field staff. The position also requires Design Build or P3 project experience and thorough knowledge of all aspects of construction (technology, equipment, methods), industry practices, estimating/budgeting, scheduling and safety requirements.

Candidates for this role are sought specifically in Vancouver and Toronto. If you are interested in building your career in Canada with a great Construction Project Management job, Outpost Recruitment is currently looking for candidates here!

Construction Estimator, Infrastructure

Job Description:

A Construction Estimator will be primarily responsible for pricing projects as assigned or directed by the Bid Manager. This multifaceted role requires the estimator to meet clients, conduct site reviews, prepare quantities, execute contract negotiations and review all other relevant information. The environment for this construction job in Canada is project driven, fast-paced and can be demanding at times.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

This role requires strong organizational and communication skills. Candidates should possess field experience in related disciplines and understanding of construction processes, the ability to read and interpret construction drawings and be proficient at using Bid2Win or a similar estimating software. Candidates with industry experience in transportation, roads and large infrastructure projects are especially sought after. A Gold Seal Certification or BCIT graduation will usually be considered additional assets.

Construction Estimators for infrastructure projects are particularly in demand in Canada and clients are often hiring on all experience levels. Outpost Recruitment has identified needs specifically in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Toronto.

Want to follow your dreams as a Construction Estimator? If so, apply here!

Construction Estimator, Buildings

Job Description:

While responsibilities of Construction Estimators are similar between infrastructure and building construction jobs, the project experience required differs significantly. The estimator’s responsibilities on building projects include the assignment and measurement of quantities, costing and sub-trade analysis, competitive bid management, and the allocation of necessary cash allowances for presentation and final review. The Estimator will be involved in estimating activities which will include preparing hard bid, cost plus and design build estimates for projects.

An Estimator will report directly to the Chief Estimator of the buildings group and will be responsible for performing all facets of an estimate for current and future construction jobs/projects.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

In the buildings sector, experienced Construction Estimators are particularly in demand and a minimum of 7 years’ experience as an estimator in the ICI sector will make for the most interesting profile. At this level the candidate will direct the work activities of other Estimators as required. A strong knowledge of the local construction industry is often necessary, making this position more challenging to attain for newcomers. Nevertheless, candidates with experience working on complex institutional, commercial, light industrial, multi-unit residential, and civil structures up to $50 Million will usually find consideration. A proven track record preparing detailed estimates and submitting lump-sum tenders as well as preparing preliminary construction schedules will also be necessary.

Candidates are required to hold a diploma in Quantity Surveying, Civil Engineering, or a diploma in Building Technology.

Outpost Recruitment is filling positions for this role across Canada, specifically in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto. Want to use your skills to excel as an Estimator? If so, you can apply for this construction job here.

Electrical Engineer, Building Services

Job Description:

When it comes to engineering jobs, the Electrical Engineer is a very important position. The Electrical Engineer reports directly to the Project Manager, Senior Designer or Team Leader, depending on the project. Given the multidisciplinary nature of this role, an ideal Electrical Engineering candidate needs to be a team player with minimal supervision, as well as having great communication skills and a can-do attitude. They also need to work closely with Architects, Structural Consultants, Code Consultants, Geotechnical Consultants as the project requires. Finally, proficient operating knowledge of AutoCAD is required.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A minimum of 3-5 years AutoCAD design experience coupled with 2 years design experience in LV, HV, control and lighting systems will usually be required. The abilities to read Architectural, Structural and Electrical drawings and to apply prescriptive requirements of electrical building services engineering codes are key. Candidates need to possess a university or college degree in a related field, and either be eligible to apply for or already have an E.I.T. classification.

Candidates for this role are sought across Canada, and there are many opportunities specifically in Vancouver, Victoria, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Want to take the next step in one of the most sought-after engineering jobs? If so, you need to apply for an Electrical Engineering position on our jobs board today!

Mechanical Engineer, Building Services

Job Description:

Mechanical Engineering jobs require applicants to maintain strong client relationships and build new businesses across the company’s portfolio. In addition, they will need to mentor team members and lead a design team from the front with innovation and initiative.

Other responsibilities include the implementation of design concepts through the preparation and production of drawings and schematics of mechanical systems for commercial, institutional, residential, public and private facilities. Additionally, the Mechanical Engineer designs mechanical HVACs, and the plumbing and fire protection in large-scale commercial and institutional building applications. The role coordinates with other consulting disciplines to ensure drawing integrity and completeness.

Job Requirements and Qualifications:

A Post-secondary education in Mechanical Engineering or another relevant discipline such as Building Systems is required. A minimum of 3+ years of relevant working experience makes for the most sought-after profile. Candidates will be expected to have a background developing construction documents using AutoCAD and/or Revit and be familiar with bid and tendering processes. Extensive knowledge of detailed architectural drawings and construction concepts and the ability to read and apply pertinent codes and standards is a key skill. Newcomers to Canada need to be prepared with excellent knowledge of Canadian/Provincial and other relevant codes and standards (i.e.: ESC, CSA, IES, IEEE, NFPA) in the industry. P. Eng. or CET certifications are an asset in this position.

Candidates for this role are sought specifically in Vancouver. If you want an engineering job that will fulfill you professionally, then this Mechanical Engineering position could be perfect for you.

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Ready to start your career in Canada?

If you’re unsure whether or not one of these roles suit you, or would simply like a second opinion, why not talk to Outpost Recruitment? Since 2011, we have specialized in pairing the best local and international construction and engineering professionals with companies across Canada. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Register with us and make the first step. Or apply to a position through our jobs board.

About Outpost Recruitment

We are a boutique agency with a solid business foundation, we mentor local and international talent. Our aim is to help the qualified and motivated candidates we work with find their desired role, whilst also ensuring that the needs of our clients are met. Outpost Recruitment provides a fresh, personalized approach to doing business, and we make it our mission to understand our candidates and clients’ respective needs. We achieve this by taking a proactive approach to what we do and by staying on top of what is happening in your market. Our ‘no nonsense’ approach means we listen, seek to understand, advise and communicate on progress as required. Bottom line: we can be counted on to deliver. We use our passion for what we do to make sure that we pair the perfect candidate with their dream job.

Other articles that may help you:

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International candidate FAQ

How does the construction market currently look in Canada?

The construction industry in Canada is particularly strong. While natural resources are a key driver of construction industry across Canada, the overall industry remains strong since the commodity crash in 2014.

The sharp drop in commodity prices affected construction activities for mining and oil and gas sectors in resource-rich provinces like Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.

In British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec, the construction sector has remained relatively steady due to booming real estate markets and increased infrastructure spending.

In 2019, the stronger employment markets in terms of major cities include Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, with British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec being the strongest performing economies among the most populated Canadian provinces. If you are looking to avoid large cities, then Vancouver Island, Northern BC, and suburbs of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) also offer lots of opportunity.

I need a job offer to gain employer sponsorship via a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Is this possible?

The LMIA process serves as proof that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is ready, willing and able to fill a specific position in Canada, and so the employer is allowed to hire a foreign worker. In order to prove this, employers must advertise the position for at least four weeks and potentially interview candidates who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

While Canada offers many immigration routes that allow employers and candidates alike to bypass the LMIA route, it may be an option in situations when the worker is unable to avail of an LMIA-exempt option.

From our perspective looking across construction roles, there are only a few specific roles for which obtaining a LMIA is a viable strategy. The prerequisite is that you are working for a tier-one contractor on large projects:

  • Senior Project Manager, Infrastructure / Buildings ($100m+ projects)
  • Project Director, Infrastructure / Buildings ($100m+ projects)
  • Design Manager, Infrastructure / Buildings
  • Superintendent, Infrastructure / Buildings ($100m+ projects)
  • Senior Estimator, Infrastructure / Buildings ($50m+ projects)
  • Commercial Manager, Infrastructure / Buildings ($50m+ projects)
  • Scheduler / Planner, Infrastructure / Buildings ($50m+ projects)

These are high demand roles (senior-level roles with general contractors on large $100m+ projects) where employers are finding it extremely difficult to hire local talent. Employer sponsorship is extremely unlikely in consultancy environment as they tend to be more conservative in terms of immigration processes. General contractors are the most common source of employer sponsorship in construction markets in Canada as they tend to look to international markets in times of skills shortages.

All I need is a job offer in order to obtain permanent residence (PR). Is this possible?

For example, you are sitting in the Express Entry pool with around 400 to 430 CRS points, which, based on recent Express Entry invitation rounds, may not quite be enough for you to obtain an invitation to apply for permanent residence. We understand the dilemma; all you need is a job offer and you will have enough points to gain an invitation, because that job offer is worth at least 50 points, likely putting you above the threshold to receive an invitation.

If you are in the Express Entry pool and have a potential employer who applies for a LMIA supporting your permanent residence candidacy, the processing service standard is 10 business days. However, it will take a few more weeks for the company to advertise the position in advance (yes, even if they actually want you, and only you).

Employers may consider a ‘dual intent’ LMIA (which entails a $1,000 fee) if they need to fill a vacancy quickly but also intend to retain you permanently. This has the advantage of getting you to Canada more quickly on a temporary work permit first, while also helping you to boost your Express Entry CRS points total and giving the employer the confidence that you intend to (and can) stay in Canada long-term. It’s a win-win-win. Feasibly, this could get you to Canada and working within 2-3 months from first contact to arrival, while also putting you on a direct pathway to PR.

There is also an option — which we urge employers and candidates alike to avoid — whereby the employer may pursue a LMIA for the purpose of supporting your permanent residence candidacy only. This would help to boost your points, but you and the employer are still looking at at least six months (and more likely eight or nine months) from first contact all the way to you being in Canada, ready and able to work. Employers typically don’t like to hire forward by such a time span, as it’s difficult to plan this far ahead. Though this option does not entail a fee, the $1,000 fee for the option outlined in the paragraph above should not be a concern as it would get you, the candidate, working in Canada far more quickly. The main, and perhaps only, reason an employer would pursue this fee-free option for hiring Express Entry candidates is a lack of awareness of the alternative.

If you do not fit the requirements of Express Entry, it’s worth noting that there are a range of Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP), and you may be eligible for at least one of these. Be warned that the ‘Come to Canada’ tool only covers federal immigration programs, so you may find a suitable PNP program to allow you to move to Canada.

When is the best time to start applying for roles?

The quick answer is around 4-12 weeks prior to arrival, but there are lots of exceptions. It all depends on your work status in Canada and where you are in the immigration process, your level of seniority, and the role itself. Depending on your role, there is such a thing as applying too soon, so working with Outpost to plan your job search strategy can be highly valuable. Here’s a brief note on each of these factors:

Work status in Canada

If you have secured the right to work in Canada by obtaining a work permit or permanent resident status, then you have removed one of the key obstacles in finding employment. Employer sponsorship is not common for construction roles in Canada (see above), so international job hunting without having the right to work in Canada is a difficult challenge. At Outpost, we have clients that provide sponsorship for some specific roles and project types where professionals are in high demand. Roles such as Senior Project Manager, Senior Estimators, and Commercial Managers on infrastructure and ICI (Institutional, Commercial and Industrial Buildings) are more likely to achieve employer sponsorship.

Job role

Niche roles such as Estimators, Quantity Surveyors, and senior-level management roles such as Project Managers, Superintendents, Commercial Managers, and Design Managers are harder to fill, so your job search can start much earlier given employers will always plan ahead. Junior / Intermediate roles are much easier to fill so employers typically don’t plan more than eight weeks ahead for these roles.

Level of seniority

Junior candidates are doing themselves a disservice applying for roles more than three months in advance of arrival as their application won’t be considered. Senior candidates can always apply 3-6 months in advance given that employers will likely plan ahead when hiring for senior roles.

I’m looking to get a job offer prior to flying out to Canada as I’m reluctant to give up my current role. Is this something that is possible in Canada?

We understand it’s a substantial risk coming to Canada with no job in-hand, especially since rental agreements may require a form of employment contact details to secure deposits and get accommodation. Gaining a job offer before landing in Canada will mostly depend on your seniority. Canadian employers are typically reluctant to commit to a job offer without a face-to-face meeting. It’s in the interests of both the candidate and the employer, as it will allow you to access first-hand the office, project, team, culture, etc.

The happy medium in all this is that as the move gets closer you will be able to engage with employers via video conference and the situation won’t appear as risky as it may seem earlier in the process. All actions are risky. The goal should be to research the employment market, build a relationship with a few employers, and then commit to the move and making things work in Canada. As you learn more about Canada and the employment market, it will feel more like an opportunity than a risk.

Potential strategies around this risk would be to consider making a trip to Canada for face-to-face interviews in advance of your move. This would allow you to finalize a role before serving notice in your current role.

How long will the job search take?

The hiring process in Canada can be quite slow, so allow 4-6 weeks for the whole process of your resume gaining traction, multiple rounds of interviews, and then negotiations to take place.  A hiring process taking less than 2-3 weeks from start to finish is considered extremely quick.

Learn more about the psychology of the job hunt.

Do clients look negatively on the 1- or 2-year Working Holiday visa? How do I overcome this obstacle?

Yes, while having a 1-2 year work permit is better than no permit at all, 1-2 years is considered an extremely short amount of time given international candidates will have a 3- to 6-month adjustment curve to the local market. Employers will expect a minimum 3-4 year return on their investment, so think and speak beyond the temporary work permit or you will not succeed. While one or two years may seem like a serious commitment to a new country, your future employer will likely be quizzing you on your intentions to stay beyond this term. Being unprepared for the “how long do you plan to stay in Canada?” question will nullify all your hard work in impressing the interview panel.

As a general rule, your temporary status will be the elephant in the interview room, so we highly recommend bringing up the topic before they do. Ensure you have researched your options around applying for permanent residence as you will need to convince your employer that you are at least considering a longer stay. Best focus on wording such as “relocation” and “arriving on a work permit initially” and ask questions around whether your employer will support your permanent residence application if they are happy with your performance. Actions speak louder than words, so if you can demonstrate research and potentially start your permanent residence process (e.g. sit an English test and gain your Education Credential Assessment), it will overcome this obstacle.

In terms of salary, are companies rigid on what is offered, or is there generally a bit of flexibility and negotiation?

It’s all open. Your CV/resume is how you see yourself, so if this doesn’t demonstrate how you can deliver value to a future employer then you are sabotaging your own job search. No point in waiting for the interview room before you begin to impress, as you must be able to do it on paper first. The employer will form of a view of what you are worth once they review your resume. A stronger resume means more interview opportunities and a higher starting salary.

Read our resume blog series to kick-start your job search:

What are the standard benefits I should be looking for?

In addition to base salary, Canadian employers can (or in some cases, must) offer the following employment benefits:

  • Paid vacation days. Ten days is the statutory minimum requirement in Canada, though certain provinces set a higher minimum number of annual leave days. Typically, 12-15 days is considered standard, though most employers also reward loyalty with more days off the longer an employee remains at the company.
  • Coverage of public health premiums and extended health.
  • Car allowance (common) or company car if travel is required during work hours.
  • Fuel card (if a car is needed in order for you to perform your role).
  • Laptop, cell phone.
  • Pension plan contribution via RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) matching. If applicable, the employer may match from 5-10% of your contribution.
  • Employee share ownership.

Learn more about understanding your Canadian job offer.

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Outpost Recruitment welcomes the award of the $1.4bn Pattullo Bridge project

The winning consortium for Vancouver’s much-needed Pattullo Bridge replacement project was announced in January 2020. 

The $1.4bn design-build lump sum contract specifies the delivery of a new four-lane suspension bridge crossing the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey. It will be built about 100 metres upstream of the existing 1937-built structure, roughly parallel to the aging crossing.

The bridge is designed with the capability to be widened to six lanes in the future, but this is partially accomplished by narrowing the width of the original four-lane design. Improvements will also be made to the road network at the ends of the bridge. However, there will not be a direct connection between the south end of the bridge and Highway 17 (South Fraser Perimeter Road).

Artist rendering of Pattullo Bridge, in BC
Artist rendering of the Pattullo Bridge replacement project. (Government of BC)

Since the cancellation of the Massey Tunnel Replacement Bridge in 2017 and indecision around a new Surrey LRT line, confidence in British Columbia’s infrastructure sector has been low. Amazingly, Vancouver has had only one billion dollar mega infrastructure project, the Evergreen Line LRT ($1.4bn —completed in 2016), since the South Fraser Perimeter Road was completed in 2013. It’s been a long wait for a major project.

Vancouver-based Outpost Recruitment are uniquely placed to assist in hiring for this project. Through their sister website, Moving2Canada, Outpost have been tracking local and international talent since 2011. “With the Vancouver market already stretched by a strong real estate market and a booming municipal infrastructure market, our clients enjoy our extended reach in national and global infrastructure talent,” commented founder Ruairi Spillane noting that B.C. is facing a major labour shortage. “We expect to be very busy over the next 5 years as infrastructure is truly a global market and we help clients expand their reach and innovate through people using the latest technology and construction methods.”

“Overall, we’re seeing huge demand from both consulting and contracting clients for candidates with P3 delivery experience and exposure to healthcare and rail projects,” said Spillane. “The outlook is excellent for candidates considering Vancouver as a destination. It’s the perfect storm for international candidates given both Toronto and Vancouver are booming right now, as these are the most popular cities with incoming talent.

Outpost are urgently seeking candidates for the following roles across contracting and consulting.

Contractor roles:

  • Superintendent – Civil / Structural
  • Project Manager / Coordinators – Civil / Structural
  • Site Engineer
  • Design Managers / Coordinators
  • Field Engineers (Civil / Structural)
  • Quality Coordinators, QA/QC Manager
  • Project Controls / Contracts Managers / Procurement?
  • Commercial Managers / Quantity Surveyors
  • BIM Manager
  • Planner / Scheduler
  • Equipment Coordinator
  • Field Document Controller
  • Field Scheduler
  • Mechanical & Electrical Managers / Coordinators
  • Environmental Manager
  • Traffic Manager

Consulting roles:

  • Project Manager, Owner’s Representative
  • Civil / Structural Designers / Project Managers
  • Environmental consultants
  • Geotechnical design consultants
  • Cost consultants

Expertise in bridge and highway design/construction is highly sought after to ensure the success of this project.

If you want to be part of this exciting venture, please ensure you create a profile via our website so that we can review your CV/resume and profile. Sponsorship opportunities will only available to senior personnel (10+ years of similar infrastructure experience), so all other candidates must be eligible to work in Canada.

 

Future Hiring Opportunities

Employer sponsorship opportunities are not a certainty, so if you want to be part of the construction industry in Canada, we recommend working towards obtaining the right to work in Canada independently. Visit our sister website, Moving2Canada, for free immigration resources and this helpful guide.

Contact Ruairi Spillane at [email protected] for more details.

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How can I be a Construction Project Manager in Canada? Our career profile of Alan Moat.

Curious about a career as a Construction Project Manager in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Alan Moat.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Alan Moat chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Project Manager in Canada.

Alan Moat – Construction Project Manager in CanadaAlan Moat: Construction Project Manager Canada

Alan grew up in Birmingham, England. In 1992, he graduated from the University of Exeter with a degree in Civil Engineering.

He has worked in a variety of roles related civil and structural engineering design and construction, predominantly in the railway sector.

Alan was a CEng MICE in the UK and whilst he gained his PEng APEGBC equivalent when he moved to Canada, Alan is now a Construction Project Manager with his PMP designation from the Project Management Institute.

After moving to Canada in 2006, Alan was employed as a Construction Project Manager in Canada with SNC Lavalin for 10 years. In 2015, Alan joined Parsons as an Area Manager in B.C. overseeing the Roads & Structures group.

He is based in Vancouver and has worked on the Canada Line and Evergreen Line rapid transit projects for four years each, with the two years between spent on bidding projects across North America.

He is married and has a six-year old daughter and two-year old son.

When he’s not delivering complex transit projects, Alan enjoys mountain biking and road riding, skiing, snowboarding and passing those skills on to his children.

SNC Lavalin is the largest engineering and construction company in Canada and one of the largest in the world with offices in over 50 countries.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

In 2005, I decided I needed a change of scenery.

I’d been working in the railway sector for around seven years, and as a consultant for the last five years.

My engineering and construction skills were transferrable around the world, and I narrowed down my options to New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

Really, I wanted to move for the lifestyle as much as the work experience, so it had to be somewhere close to the mountains or ocean.

I’d been on vacation hiking in the Canadian Rockies in 2001, Australia in 2003 and New Zealand south island in 2004 and loved them all, but Australia’s too hot for me, with not enough mountains and there wasn’t much work in New Zealand at the time, so I decided to focus on Western Canada.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

I was earning at lot of money for a 30-year-old single guy when working as a contract engineering manager back in the UK.

I took a considerable pay cut to move to Vancouver and take a regular salaried position, so it was definitely a lifestyle decision.

The first position with SNC Lavalin I took was a design manager role which I found easy and something that I’d been doing five years earlier in the UK.

It wasn’t soon before they saw my capabilities and promoted me to the Project Manager responsible for the construction of the three downtown stations on the Canada Line.

What made you choose Vancouver?

I was weighing up the options in Australia and Canada, and when I discovered there was a lot of work in Vancouver ahead of the 2010 Olympics, I focused my efforts on there.

I never gave much thought to Calgary to be honest. I secured a one-year working visa through the exchange scheme, and started contacting employers, including the companies bidding to build the new Canada Line SkyTrain from the airport to downtown.

I applied for a few positions on Olympic projects but didn’t get anywhere. I came out to Vancouver on vacation in the summer of 2005 to walk the west coast trail and dropped into the SNC Lavalin office, and managed to convince the Canada Line Project manager to interview me.

The visit to Vancouver convinced me that this was the place for me and eventually, after a lot of following up, they offered me a job in September 2005. I arrived on December 31, and started work on January 4, 2006.

My advice to anyone seeking employment here is use your initiative, be persistent and don’t give up.

Did you move alone?

I arrived in Canada on my own, along with my mountain bike and snowboard on December 31, 2005.

I met my wife, Nicole, who is Canadian, 18 months later at the Crankworx mountain bike festival in Whistler and we got married in 2012.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Engineering?

My dad was a carpenter and I have always been into building stuff.

I found maths, physics and chemistry easy at school as engineering seemed like a good option for me. I did a general engineering course for the first two years, then after being offered summer work by Mott MacDonald, I decided to chose civil for the last two.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I never really have a long term plan to be honest. I focus on a goal one or two years ahead and revisit that plan regularly as things develop.

If I’m not happy I change direction until I am happy.

The two big changes I made to my career path were to work as a consultant in 2000 which worked out great and earned me a lot of money and secondly moving to Canada.

Working as a consultant enabled me to make the jump from the design consultant side to the construction contractor side, which suits me better to be honest.

The Canada plan came out of the blue to a certain extent.

I was working in Liverpool on the Merseytram Project and wasn’t really enjoying the project or the city. That was the push I needed to move abroad and as they say the rest is history.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

I worked for Mott MacDonald for six years after university.

This included spells in the Birmingham design office, the London Project Management office and seconded to a contractor for a year.

Most of the work involved designing, inspecting, building bridges.

I got my CEng in 1997 and I was headhunted by Atkins Rail in 1998.

From then on I’ve worked exclusively on heavy and light rail projects.

At the end of 2000 I decided to quit Atkins Rail and work as a consultant, in initially this was for Atkins Rail and then for Carillion as Design Manager or Engineering Manager on a series of West Coast Mainline upgrade and remodeling projects.

My last role was contract with Parsons Brinkerhoff as a section project manager on the ill fated Merseytram project in Liverpool which was cancelled two weeks after I quit late in 2005.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

I had a job pre-arranged before setting out. If I hadn’t managed to arrange a job before the last date to start my visa (December 31, 2005) I would have moved here anyway and tried to secure something when I arrived.

Worst case, I’d have been a ski bum or a bike mechanic for a year.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I was lucky enough to be able to negotiate a contract that included a housing allowance for two months and SNC Lavalin arranged an apartment for me.

The rest was pretty easy to be honest. The extra baggage for a single guy isn’t much. Preparing for the move well in advance is the trick.

Just make sure you are organized and can redirect all your post to someone in the UK you can try to help manage it for you while you are away.

I’m lucky enough to have my mum to do this for me and she still does a great job for me.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move, but there are a lot of expats in Vancouver so you’ll soon make contacts if you out yourself out there.

I had a couple of friends in Vancouver before I moved here which made life easier to settle in and I quickly made some good business contacts at work and some good friends who I’m still friends with ten years later.

Your professional development in Canada

What are the key differences between being a Construction Project Manager in Canada and the UK?

The role was initially similar to work I’d done as a design manager in the UK, however it soon changed to a very different role as a construction Project Manager, which was new to me.

Aside from that engineering and construction is the same the world over and with no language barrier, the transition was easy.

The level of pressure is a bit lower in Canada as the working environment is a lot more collaborative and generally everyone wants to help and push in the same direction.

Initially I had a lot more spare time but after a couple of years I had about the same amount as I had in the UK. However of course I now have so many more fun things to do with my spare time!

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Project Manager in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

The working environment here is fairly similar to the UK, though maybe a little bit more laid back and there is less pressure to work long hours.

The construction working environment is definitely less confrontational which is good in general, but sometimes gets in the way of getting issues brought to a head and resolved quickly.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers looking to be a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

It can be tough for newcomers if they have no experience here. Priority is given to local graduates.

However, if you have experience, skills and can sell yourself then you should be able to get a job in the industry.

Use your contacts if you have them and use agencies.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

I’ve got kids now, but I remember in my first five years I’d go snowboarding with some mates after work.

In less than an hour of leaving my desk I’d be hitting the powder on the north shore mountains until they closed at 10pm.

Whistler is less than two hours away at weekends too. When I first moved here I did a lot of hiking, climbing and mountaineering and there’s countless mountains to be scaled and backcountry camping to be had only a few hours out of the city.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Throw yourself in 100pc. Don’t expect Vancouverites to come up to you and make friends.

You have to put yourself out there. It helps if you are a biker/hiker/skier/boarder or have some other interest as there are a lot of like minded people to meet here.

Canadians are the friendliest people in the world, but they are a little difficult to get to know sometimes.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

Yes, absolutely. The BC licence plates don’t say the ‘Best Place on Earth’ for nothing.

I’ve been here for ten years now and I’ll never leave. Apart from the house prices in Vancouver it’s the perfect place to bring up a family and very safe.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

If you are a Construction Project Manager and expect to get everything done before you leave work at the end of the day, then you’re in the wrong job.

Never expect to get everything done, else you’ll be constantly stressed.

The art of being a Construction Project Manager is to keep 100 balls in the air and don’t drop any. You’ll always have a list of 100 things to do and your job is to prioritize those things. As soon as you do one, two more will be added to the list.

Live with it and make sure the important things are done before you leave.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Construction Project Manager in Canada?

Get some good experience back home first.

Get varied experience also. Don’t just do one thing for the first five years of your career else before you know it you are pigeon-holed.

Develop a great resume and you’ll be in big demand as a Construction Project Manager in Canada.

Follow Alan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Project Manager in Canada like Alan?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Construction Estimator in Canada? Our career profile of Stephan Blank.

Curious about a career as a Construction Estimator in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Stephan Blank.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Stephan Blank chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Estimator in Canada.

Stephan Blank, Construction Estimator CanadaStephan Blank – Construction Estimator in Canada

I am a Senior Construction Estimator in Germany but worked in Canada for 10 years after relocating to Vancouver. I was an Estimator in Canada at Bouygues and Kinetic Construction and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Canada before returning home in 2017.

I am a single dad of an amazing daughter and construction professional of 22 years.

I am a former current Chair of the Under 40 Professionals at the Vancouver Construction Association and I am training to finish my first Ironman.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I have traveled almost entire Europe and 2006 Canada was my first destination outside of Europe.

I spent three weeks around Vancouver / Vancouver Island and simply fell in love with this place. Also Canada had just been awarded the 2010 Winter Olympics and it was “construction paradise” at the time which made the decision even easier.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Both are equally important and this remains the case.

In Germany, you tend to work hard and don’t really enjoy live as much. What I found here in Vancouver is that you still work hard and you have fantastic opportunities to progress in your career but also you take the time to enjoy live.

What made you choose Vancouver?

The pure beauty of this place, the ocean, the mountains and the nature. Also, you have similar weather conditions to Europe.

Did you move alone?

This was the most difficult part of the decision. I am a single dad, my daughter was nine years old at the time, and I didn’t know how this whole plan would work out.

I left her with my parents for 18 months until I was fully settled in, and then brought her to Vancouver.

It was a hard time, but looking back it was the best decision I made in a long time. Moving to a new country is a bigger deal than people think at first.

I had packed up my bags four times in the first year, and was ready to give up. Today I am very happy that I didn’t, but I’d advise anyone to really think everything entirely through – it really is a very big decision.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study construction?

I was always fascinated by construction of any kind, so my career choice was quite easy.

I wanted to be a Project Manager, but I wanted to learn the job the proper way and start on the tools. I did my apprenticeship in bricklaying and formwork carpentry, and worked my way up through the ranks as lead hand, foreman, superintendent, and finally became a Project Manager before doing my masters.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan?

It didn’t. Somehow, I was very lucky and driven, and everything worked out as planned.

Tell us about your career path prior to moving to Canada.

From 1994 to 2006, I worked for a general contractor which specialized in concrete work up to €30 million.

  • 1994 – 1997: Start apprenticeship as bricklayer / formwork carpenter
  • 1998 – 1999: Lead hand
  • 1999 – 2000: Foreman
  • 2001 – 2003: Superintendent
  • 2003 – 2006: Project manager

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

Honestly, nothing.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was the language. I didn’t speak a word of English, so I booked a course in a three-month language school in Vancouver.

In the last month, I spoke enough English to apply for a job and go to interviews. Once I secured a job, I rented an apartment and went back to Germany to sell everything in my old place, and three weeks later, I started working in Vancouver.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

No.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

The quick answer? Hard work.

My first experience in Canada was anything else than pleasant; a larger formwork contractor here hired me as a project manager.

The week I moved here, I was told they didn’t have a project for me and asked if I could start on the tools for three months.

Once started, I found that the owner had done this with a few more people and that was just the beginning. I got charged a crazy amount of money for my work permit and I was paid less then half what was agreed to in the contract.

I confronted the owner and his response was: “Your work permit is only valid for my company, what do you want to do? Go back to Germany if you don’t like it.”

Exploring my options, I found a great general contractor who was willing to help me.

I signed a job offer with PCL Westcoast in April 2007, but had to wait until October 2007 for the new work permit to arrive.

In this time I was still working on the tools for the first contractor. I worked for four years at PCL as a Construction Estimator and Project Manager and met some great people who helped me grow in this industry.

Moving on, I had good opportunities at Doka Canada and Scott Construction before starting as a Senior Estimator at Bouygues Building Canada.

In this role, I was exposed to Design build and PPP projects valued at over CAD$100 million. Now, I am working as a Senior Estimator for Kinetic Construction, a mid-size general contractor specializing in new construction, tenant fit outs and design build projects.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Germany?

Now as an estimator, I am responsible for securing the work instead of executing the work as project manager back in Germany.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Learning the language, and especially all the specific construction terms.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Not really, I am still in construction. The only thing what changed is the actual full time estimating position, which now brings great and exciting new goals that I want to archive.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Estimator in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

It depends on the size of the company you choose to work for.

Working for a larger contractor was a far different environment than the family-sized company that I am used to in Germany. That’s probably why I feel very happy working at Kinetic, as it reminds me of the company I worked for back home.

Both the large and the small contractor have advantages and disadvantages. The actual construction environment is quite different in construction methods and quality of work.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

There were really just two: the language and the construction methods.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

I asked a lot of questions. Never assume something and never be afraid to ask a question doesn’t matter how silly the question may sound.

How is the work-life balance as a Construction Estimator in Canada?

It’s as balanced as you choose to make it. I tend to focus more on work than free time but it’s definitely possible to have a good work-life balance.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

Great! Canada has not nearly enough professionals for the years to come.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

I love all the fun things I can do here. Swimming, mountain biking, hiking, cycling and skiing.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Volunteering to meet some people.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

You never know what the future has in store, but I am sure it will be in Vancouver.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Listen, learn and ask questions. Surround yourself with people in positions you want to be in and learn from them. Go out and network.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Construction Estimator in Canada?

Make a plan and see it through. There will be problems just keep sticking to your plan and don’t give up. Get some help from people like Ruairi.

Follow Stephan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Estimator in Canada like Stephan?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Project Controls Manager in Calgary? Our career profile of Niamh Ní Chrónín.

Curious about a career as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Niamh Ní Chrónín.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Niamh Ní Chróinín chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares her experience in moving to Canada to work as a Senior Estimator and Project Controls Manager in Calgary.

Niamh Ní Chróinín – Senior Estimator / Project Controls Manager in Calgary (Main Contractor)

Niamh Ní Chróinín: Project Controls Manager in CalgaryNiamh Ní Chróinín moved to Canada in February 2014 after working as an Engineer in Ghana, Ireland and London.

She holds a degree in Engineering, an MSc in Construction Law and is a Chartered Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers in the UK.

Niamh’s greatest passion in life is playing sports and this was the primary incentive for her to move to Canada. As a child she rode horses, in university she was a Taekwondo Instructor and now she spends most of her free time training with the local swimming club or rock climbing.

Niamh held a dual role of Senior Estimator/ Project Controls Manager in Calgary with Aecon for 3 years before joining Berkley Research Group as a Managing Consultant.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I had been living in London for 6 years – working on the Olympics and Crossrail whilst also completing my MSc and Chartership – when I began to really start hating the place.

I considered moving to Australia but friends who had moved there earlier had told me the market was slowing down. I also considered the Middle East, but I wasn’t sure the lifestyle would suit me. Then, there was Canada. So, I suppose my choice came from choosing the best out of an otherwise bad lot!

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

I felt that I had already progressed my career hugely in the past few years but at the expense of what I love most – sports. Canada is renowned for having a great work-life balance and that definitely sold me on the idea of moving there.

What made you choose Calgary?

I didn’t! I wanted to move to Canada and the interview I had was for Calgary. I suppose you could say Calgary chose me!

Did you move alone?

Yes – just me and four suitcases.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study civil engineering?

I actually started studying science (math and physics) in NUI Galway, but quickly realized that I was not suited for a life indoors or teaching (which seemed to be where the job opportunities were at the time).

After two years, I dropped out of science to re-apply for civil engineering. To be honest, I was destined to be a civil engineer – I still have several train and Meccano sets at home that I used to get each Christmas.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan?

I always had a great love of civil engineering math but when I started working on the Olympics I gained a huge appreciation for the contractual aspect of construction.

In 2010, I went back to obtain an M.Sc. in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution at King’s College London – this is when my path diverged slightly away from Project Management and towards Project Controls.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

  • B.Eng. NUI Galway: 2006
  • Site engineer (Ghana): 2006
  • Site Engineer (Sisk): 2006-2008
  • Junior Design Engineer (Oran Precast): 2007
  • Site Engineer, Olympics (Bam Nuttall): 2007-2009
  • Section Engineer, Olympics (BAM Nuttall): 2009-2010
  • Sub Agent/ Bid Manager (BAM Nuttall): 2010-2012
  • Project Manager (Dragados Sisk, Crossrail): 2012-2014
  • C.Eng. (MICE): 2013
  • M.Sc. Construction Law and Dispute Resolution: 2013
  • Moved to Canada: 2014

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada before you became a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

Very little. To be completely honest I was motivated to move to Canada purely because it meant I was getting out of London. I had spent years working long hours, giving up weekends and social events for work. I didn’t even consider career progression – I was very happy just to sit at whatever rank I was at – I just wanted to get my life back.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I was very lucky. My company organized everything for me: my flights, the apartment I was to stay in for the first few weeks, my visa and moving any furniture I wanted to bring.

The biggest challenge for me was moving back to Ireland from London and then further on again. I have to say my company was great and really understood the reality of being so far away from home. My phone was already charged the day I arrived so I could call home and they had already loaded Skype on my work computer so I could call during work hours. It has definitely made the move easier.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I have worked in Ghana, West Africa and London as a Civil Engineer.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No, I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move (in terms of people I actually knew); however, I am chartered with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) in London and they have an outpost here in Calgary called the Canadian Prairies Group of Chartered Engineers (CPGCE).

So, once I arrived I was introduced to the liaison officer and started meeting with the group once a month. Additionally, I am in constant contact with my institution in London and my mentors there so to be honest I don’t feel like I am isolated from my professional network or institution. Construction is a very small world.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I found this role through a recruitment agency in Ireland.

Initially, they had not offered me this role because I don’t think many people understand what project controls entails. I began to get ‘assertive’ with this agency as I really wanted to move to Canada and asked them to start listing roles in companies they were hiring for. Project Controls Manager in Calgary came up and I knew this was something I wanted to move into more formally.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and in London?

Here in Canada I am managing and supporting a larger area and there is a much bigger appreciation for project controls.

In London, I found that project controls was a good idea and every major project had a department but there was a disconnect between it and the operations side.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

I had worked in project controls before but if I could do it again I would spend some more time reviewing the terminology.

It wasn’t a big deal but I did spend the first few weeks trying to align how things in Canada worked versus Ireland or the UK.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Well there are definitely more opportunities for career progression here in Canada and the companies are a lot bigger than those I am used to. To be honest I don’t really have an objective as such – I’m still learning every day and I like being a Project Controls Manager in Calgary because it is so versatile.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

I think the working environment here is different. It’s not as adversarial as at home and to be honest, I kind of liked it at home because you could be completely honest if you had reservations about something.

Here, it’s very defined and you have to stick to the chain of command and sometimes I find that difficult.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

  1. Legislation: I was more than familiar with the UK and Ireland in terms of H&S legislation and contractual mechanisms. I was a bit deflated having to re-learn such systems and I am still learning them.
  2. The roles and responsibilities of teams members: Definition of a site engineer isn’t really the same as at home, nor is foreman so I was getting confused putting tenders together as sometimes I didn’t have the required workforce.
  3. The lingo: Schedule = programme; letter of credit = unconditional bond; rock truck = moxi; ride = lift. I have a list on my desk at work so I don’t unintentionally insult someone during a conversation!

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Honestly I really didn’t have to do anything. My colleagues made me feel at home from the first day. There were lunches and drinks organized with the various teams so I could meet everyone and I was sent to our head office in Toronto 2 weeks later to meet my counterparts there.

How is the work-life balance as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary?

Very good but as with any other job you are in charge of it. If you want to work 24/7 companies will welcome it. Here, I feel it is not expected as much as it was in the UK or Ireland.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The sky’s the limit in terms of career prospects for both my role as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary, and the industry.

One thing I do find that’s different here is that age doesn’t seem to be a problem so you won’t be held back just because you might be a bit younger. If you show talent and enthusiasm there will be nothing in your way from progressing.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

For the most part, I am home at 5:30pm and the whole evening is my own. Actually, for the first few weeks here it was nearly lonely because I was home so early.

But now I have joined several clubs and I am doing some kind of activity every evening. Also, I love the mountains. Calgary is a city but nothing like London so I feel a lot more comfortable here having come from the countryside (County Clare) than I did in London.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

I went out, joined clubs, made friends and bought a massive winter jacket!

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I am afraid to answer this! I love Ireland and I will always want to move home regardless of where I am. So to answer positively I will say:

  • I am applying for my Permanent Residency.
  • I have made loads of friends and I find the majority of Canadians are very similar to the Irish.
  • I am enjoying travelling around Canada and the U.S.
  • I am definitely enjoying playing loads of sports again.
  • The weather does not bother me – as a matter of fact I love winter.
  • Could I settle here? Yes.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

I have received this advice several times and even recently when I was dealing with a sensitive matter.

The advice is: be decisive. Weigh up the issues, use your judgment and make a decision. 80% of the time or more, you will be right.

As for the other 20%, at least you will have made a decision when others wasted time. The 80% will carry you through.

One colleague even told me to read about when Alex Ferguson dropped Jim Leighton as Manchester United goalkeeper, and I have zero interest in soccer but I did read it. It highlighted the importance of decision making. You will not expand your career unless you can rise above the rest, make decisions and accept whatever consequences there may be.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

Every day is a school day, be humble and continue learning.

Project controls is a growing field with several niche areas, you need to have a good grasp of everything from finance, tendering, contractual matters, project management, working with and managing people and scheduling to name a few.

More often than not, for this role we pick those based on enthusiasm and train them to suit the role. Not everyone can juggle all these tasks. Be open to new challenges and show an interest in all of the aforementioned topics.

Follow Niamh’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Project Controls Manager in Calgary like Niamh?

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How can I be a Commissioning Consultant in Canada? Our career profile of Dave Green.

Curious about a career as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Dave Green.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

Next up, Dave Green chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada.

Dave Green: Commissioning Consultant CanadaDave Green – Commissioning Consultant in Canada, Buildings

David is originally from London, England and he has 30 years of experience in the construction industry. David is a UK Chartered Engineer Member of CIBSE and a member of ASHRAE.

He is also one of only a few holders in Canada of the ASHRAE Commissioning Process Management Professional designation. David relocated his wife Linda and his three sons Jake, Finn and Cade from Toronto to Edmonton in December 2012, to commence CDML on a new journey in Alberta.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

I am lucky in that I’ve been to Canada before – I first visited way back in the late 80s and early 90s, when I learned about the quality of life, standard of living and the opportunities that Canada holds if you work hard for it. Canada is a country that rewards hard work and that was a big factor in my decision to come back here.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Career progression – being given the opportunity to start a department for an established organization was a huge factor in my decision. The lifestyle was also important as I have small children who deserve to grow up in a safe environment.

What made you choose Toronto?

The job opportunity was in Toronto, with travel nationwide.

Did you move alone?

I moved my whole family – my wife and my two children (at the time – we have subsequently had another child) all came with me.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Building Services?

Many years ago, my father took me to the library and told me that I needed to study a trade and that was the end of the conversation! At that point, any thoughts I had of being a footballer or a rock star were ended. Do I regret that advice? Not at all – I love what I do and always have; I am lucky that no matter where we have lived, I can drive around with the kids and they can see some of ‘Daddy’s’ buildings, which makes me feel very proud of my contribution to the country.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I always thought that I would be a technical engineer/project manager solving other peoples’ problems. I never imagined that today, I would be the part owner of 20-person strong commissioning and digital manuals company. Never thought that I would enjoy meeting clients and creating opportunities much more than I ever liked technical engineering…. it’s funny how coming to Canada really got me out of, what I guess you could say, was a bit of a rut.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

After being an apprentice Engineer for five years for Mathew Hall in London UK, I progressed from being a drafter to a designer, to an engineer to Project Manager and now, Company Director.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

I always knew the career prospects were good, especially given that I came here in early 2009 when things were looking pretty bleak around the world. It was all down to me to make the most of the opportunity that was handed to me, and I like to think that I have done just that.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

To prepare for the move, I rented our house in the UK, packed up what we wanted to bring and sold the rest. The biggest challenge in moving to Canada is that you are coming here as an immigrant (not as an expat). So you’re basically starting a new life on a fresh page…things like credit rating and car insurance are zero when you arrive and you need to be aware of this and factor it in when you move.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I have lived and worked in Canada before.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No, I didn’t have a professional network prior to my move – I have created it over the past five years. However, it’s a pretty easy place to work and people are receptive to what I have to say. Having a ‘funny’ accent is also a bonus as it makes you memorable.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I found my original position through answering an advertisement in the CIBSE Journal; within a few months I was not only responsibility for the department but also had a separate company. Today I am part owner of that company – it has been some roller coaster ride over the past five years.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and the UK?

The UK has a very mature construction industry compared to Canada. Canada has a lot of growing up to do when it comes to constructing buildings, especially iconic ones. However, this just means opportunity for someone with my knowledge and experience – this is the way I have always looked at it.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare for life as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

Personally I don’t think there was anything I could have done prior to my move to prepare, but for someone else I would totally recommend understanding the provincial engineering regulations and what your qualifications may mean to the provincial bodies. Forewarned is forearmed – you may avoid disappointment and heartache if you do your research and understand the system.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Completely – when I first arrived, I was starting a department. Now, I am running a company and my objective now is to have a CDML Consulting Ltd. office in every province.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

We have tried to create a very European-like, open environment within the CDML offices, which is completely different from the usual North American culture of cubicles. The traditional working environment in Canada is completely different to the UK and this is probably the biggest challenge immigrants will face. We have deliberately tried to make CDML a great environment to work and grow your career in without too many rules. The best description I can give you is that it’s an entrepreneurial environment.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

Cultural differences, travelling distances and lack of understanding of building services engineering and commissioning.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Personal and professional development courses.

How is the work-life balance as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

My work life balance is pretty good, although I work hard as it is my company. The commute to my office is 15 minutes each way or 20 minutes by public transport; this really helps with my work life balance.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The career prospects here are excellent; there is a serious lack of skilled people here which makes it the land of opportunity, if you are prepared to work hard for it.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

Standard of living is very high and the pace of life is slow compared to London.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Stop converting from to dollars to pounds – it is counter productive as you are paying taxes at a much lower rate here.

Try to assimilate as much as you can into understanding the Canadian culture and way of doing things – it is pretty unique… a bit like the UK used to be in the early 80s. There’s a naivety and I really like it. Also, my advice is to work at it everyday.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I do see Canada as a long-term home. I have bought a house in Edmonton and my kids are settled in school here. It’s a safe place for them to grow up with lots of opportunities.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Be the best you can be, learn from your mistakes and never let the past dictate your future.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada?

Soft skills are just as important, if not more, than technical knowledge. The power of communication should never be underestimated, especially when it comes to defusing a potentially difficult technical situation.

Follow Dave’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Commissioning Consultant in Canada like Dave?

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How can I be a Client-Side Project Manager in Calgary? Our career profile of Fergal Duff.

Curious about a career as a Client-Side Project Manager in Calgary? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Fergal Duff.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

Next up in the series, Fergal Duff chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as Project Manager in Calgary (Owner Representative).

Fergal Duff – Project Manager in Calgary (Owner Representative)

Project Manager in Calgary

Fergal grew up on a farm in County Laois, Ireland. In 2000, he graduated from University College Dublin with a degree in Architecture. He has worked in a variety of roles related to real estate development in many countries across the world.

While still a chartered Architect, Fergal is now a full-time professional Project Manager in Calgary and since moving to Canada in 2012, he was employed as a Director with Pivotal Projects before setting up his own consulting practice, Vision Development Management.

He is based in Calgary but works on projects for clients across Canada. He is married and has a one-year old daughter. When he’s not delivering complex development projects, Fergal enjoys being a parent, driving, mountain-biking and snowboarding.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

Canada became a destination very suddenly and unexpectedly. In 2012, my wife and I had been living in Doha, Qatar for several years and had no immediate plans to leave. In March of that year, we got married in Houston, Texas, where my wife is from. We had invited my old boss, who had relocated to Canada. On the morning of our wedding he emailed me to say he couldn’t make it but asked if I’d be interested in joining his new team, saying: “Something to think about when you’re walking down the aisle.” Throughout that day, our guests asked us what our future plans were and we replied that we would probably stay in the Middle East, at least until my US Green Card was approved and then we would see. However, within a few months of going back to Doha, we decided the opportunity in Canada could not be declined. We arrived in Calgary in late October 2012, so it all happened quite quickly.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

The work experience I gained in Doha over a relatively short time cannot be surpassed. When I left Doha I was the Project Manager on a $2.6 billion mega project – an opportunity that rarely comes along. So, the decision to move to Canada was definitely made due to lifestyle and culture. Speaking as a European, even though it is quite a progressive country there is very limited freedom in Qatar. As a non-Arabic speaking, foreign worker, it is also a frustrating environment to live and work. Canada seemed like a good compromise between my cultural expectations and my wife’s American, yet socially liberal, sensibilities.

What made you choose Calgary?

In all the research we did about the Canadian economy while making our decision, Alberta seemed like the safest bet from an economic perspective. I was still bruised from the experience of the Global Financial Crisis and an economy closely linked to the energy industry was familiar, in terms of our experience in Qatar and our links to Houston. Initially, when we started seriously talking with Pivotal about a possible move to Canada, the likely destination was Edmonton. In the end, Calgary was chosen for us because of the projects that were in the pipeline here. It turned out to be a very good cultural fit. My wife’s parents recently moved to Colorado, so now we are in the same time zone, which helps communication.

Did you move alone?

I arrived in Canada with my wife in October 2012 and our daughter was born just under a year later. I have family in Toronto, but that was not a factor in our decision to move to Canada. 

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Architecture?

I have always been very creative and I felt that I needed a more artistic outlet than what engineering could offer me. In fact, I remember doing a career guidance test which recommended either Art or Engineering as a career choice, so Architecture seemed like a logical compromise in university. My older sister is also a very talented architect and established her own firm shortly after registration. She was definitely an influence on my initial career choice.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

I was a good student and always did well in college, but I was never fully committed to the design aspect of the practice of Architecture. I was more interested in the implementation and delivery side and I always got along well with clients, who responded well to my no-nonsense approach. This eventually resulted in my being hired by an Australian client as a Development Manager and Design Director. I was always surprised by the number of consultants engaged on Australian projects and architects generally did a fairly ordinary job of coordinating and managing them all. It was in this role – as a Owner Representative – that I was first introduced to the concept of Project Management as a separate profession; it made sense to me.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

I worked for a successful design firm in Dublin for a few years before a mini-recession in late 2001 prompted a move to Australia in 2002. I briefly worked in Singapore as an architect on a sub-way extension and then settled in Sydney until late 2007. In that time, I moved around different architectural firms fairly frequently before joining a small boutique development company. I moved back to Ireland and gave architecture another go, joining one of the largest firms in the country in 2008. A second, somewhat more serious recession provoked my move to Doha, Qatar in 2009 where I reinvented myself as a Project Manager. In Doha, I made a significant investment in training to get my PM credentials up to speed with my experience. Later, I enrolled in an executive MBA with the Manchester Business School (Dubai), which has been an enormous benefit to my career.

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

I had a job pre-arranged before setting out. I would not have done it any other way.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

I negotiated a contract that included a generous allowance to cover our moving expenses and accommodation for the first month after our arrival. Even still, we had about nine suitcases, which were a challenge on the flight transfers! Pivotal’s HR department was very supportive in helping us get set-up, otherwise.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

I didn’t quite have a professional network prior to my move, but a few contacts – including, most significantly my boss, who had made the same trip about 12 months before me, so that was a great help. I inherited an extensive professional network when I joined Pivotal at work on my second day in Canada.

Your professional development in Canada

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Qatar?

The role is similar although given the difference in scale of projects, the work is done by a smaller project management team so everyone has to be a generalist. In Doha, I managed a team of up to 48 specialized professionals on a single project. In Canada, I have five others on my team and we manage multiple projects concurrently. The level of pressure is much lower in Canada as the working environment as a Project Manager in Calgary is a lot more collaborative and not as politicized. I have about the same amount of spare time, but infinitely more choices of what to do with it.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Project Manager in Calgary similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

Culturally, the working environment here in Canada is a huge improvement over the working environment in the Middle East. I definitely don’t feel like an outsider or an expat here. The optimism reminds me of Australia in the mid-2000s. However, I believe Calgary is unique in that it is very business friendly and feels like a small town, particularly in the real estate and development industry. A lot of deals are built off relationships and networking activity.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role as a Project Manager in Calgary?

Climate has been generally challenging but not to my role per se…

  1. I was very suspicious of people when I first arrived from the Middle East. It is difficult to explain the effect of spending over four years feeling like you could get fired and deported any day. It took me a while to realize that Canadians are as trustworthy and honest as they are friendly.
  2. The proclivity of developers to engage contractors on construction management contracts was surprising. There is great deal of trust between clients and contractors that I haven’t experienced before. There is always a place for CM contracts, but it would not be my default recommendation.
  3. It has been challenging to deal with some of the financial aspects of moving to Canada, particularly the access to finance as a temporary resident, despite a healthy salary.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

I listened a lot. I have a lot of international experience but I felt it was a good idea to learn as much as I could from the people around me. I attended as many networking events and got introduced to a lot of people the industry. This has been very valuable, especially in the context as a Project Manager in Calgary.

How is the work-life balance as a Project Manager in Calgary?

It’s fairly good. Obviously it all depends on the workload in any given week but in general I feel like I have enough spare time and lots of interesting options for spending the time.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

At the moment I would encourage anyone with good prospects to consider moving to Alberta. I’d rate the prospects to be reasonable. I know that we struggle to find experienced candidates when we have an open position. Unfortunately we compete with the energy industry for good PM’s. Oil and Gas companies  seem to have deeper pockets but they tend to be more volatile and have less interesting projects, so we differentiate on the basis of culture, creativity and stability.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

The people and the landscape are what make Canada a wonderful place to live. It is one of the safest places I’ve lived and I can’t think of a better environment for my children.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

It didn’t take much in fairness, but we made a decision at the outset that we wanted to live close to the city if possible. We felt that settling in suburbia would have limited our ability to have a good social life and to integrate successfully into Canadian life.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

We have no reason to think otherwise. I don’t see us moving back to Ireland, but if an amazing opportunity came up in the States or somewhere in mainland Europe, I think we would give it serious consideration in a few years.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

“It is better to regret something you have done than to regret something you haven’t done.”

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

Do your research. Trust professionals to give you important advice, not Facebook pages. Present yourself honestly and in the best possible light you can. Make a memorable first impression. If you have the qualifications and experience, it is only a matter of time and flexibility.

Follow Fergal’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Project Manager in Calgary like Fergal?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

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How can I be a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton? Our career profile of Colin Rigney.

Curious about a career as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Colin Rigney.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In this article, Colin Rigney chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada to work as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton with a Main Contractor.

Colin Rigney – Construction Project Manager in Edmonton, Buildings (Main Contractor)

Colin Rigney - Construction Project Manager EdmontonHaving relocated to Canada in 2011, Colin was a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton with Clark Builders for 4.5 years before joining Chandos in 2016.

Colin previously worked as a Contracts Manager with John Paul Construction in Dublin. Colin has three small children (one true Canadian) ranging in age from 1 to 5 years old. Before life with children he was an avid scuba diver and loved to travel.

He enjoys all types of sports and since moving to Canada, he has taken up curling and plays in a rookie league in the local curling club during the winter months. During the summer he enjoys a lot of long weekends away camping with friends.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

When I was trying to decide where to move (during April through June of 2011), I considered several places such as:

  1. London: My view was that this market would take a nosedive after the 2012 Olympics. In addition, I didn’t fancy the long commutes in London.
  2. Middle East: I was not interested in moving my family to a country where women were treated as second-class citizens and was not interested in leaving my family in Ireland and seeing them every couple of months. Further, the Libyan and Syrian civil war had commenced and riots had just started in Bahrain.
  3. Australia: At the time, we were hearing that future growth in Australia was in jeopardy. Also, from a distance perspective Australia seemed too far for parents/siblings/friends to be able to travel to see us on a regular basis.
  4. Canada: My wife and I visited Edmonton for a week in June 2011 and it was then that we decided that we were going to move to Canada primarily due to:
    • Clark Builders and the overwhelming welcome that we received;
    • Friendliness of the people in general;
    • It was a place that we really could see ourselves living in and where we could raise our children;
    • Endless opportunities here for the entire family;
    • Perceived similar culture to Ireland; and
    • Closer distance to Ireland than Australia.

Finally we moved to Canada in September of 2011.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Both formed an important part in the decision-making process but quality of life was definitely more important to us.

What made you choose Edmonton?

We had never heard of Edmonton until we started talking with Clark Builders. Clark Builders’ head office is based in the city, and this is where my job offer from Clark as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton came from, so the choice was made for us!

Did you move to Canada alone?

No – my wife, my two young children and I moved to Canada together. My wife and I had always agreed that we would stay together as a family unit wherever we decided to go. We were not interested in the family staying at home and me travelling abroad to work.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study construction?

I had always been interested in construction from a young age. My primary qualification is a degree in Civil Engineering from UCD.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

Not really much apart from the fact that I am now living and working in a different country – this was not part of the original plan!

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

  • BE UCD (1997)
  • Site Engineer John Paul Construction (1997)
  • Site Engineer Noonan Construction (1998)
  • Senior Engineer John Paul Construction; completed a part time Diploma in Trinity College in Project Management at the same time (1998)
  • Construction Project Manager, John Paul Construction (2000)
  • Contracts Manager, John Paul Construction (2008)
  • Moved to Canada (2011)

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton?

I had secured a job with Clark Builders before we moved over; however, coming to a new country I knew that I would have to take step backward in order to move forward.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

Lots of research on the Internet and as well, Clark Builders were also a huge help. We came over to meet with Clark Builders before they made us an offer and before we decided to move. Clark Builders organised a number of appointments for us during this week including a meeting with a mortgage broker and a realtor who showed us a number of properties.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

I had worked in  New Jersey, USA for 4 months on J1 Student VISA.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

None, apart from the contacts we had in Clark Builders.

Your professional development as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton

How did you find your current role?

I was approached by a recruiter in Ireland who was recruiting on behalf of Clark Builders.

What are the key differences between your role in Canada and Ireland?

  • The majority of prime contracts here in Canada are either Construction Management or Lump Sum contracts, whereas most contracts in Ireland are based on BOQs (Bill of Quantities) and are typically re-measurable. I have personally not come across BOQs here in Edmonton.
  • Relationships, roles, responsibilities and reporting requirements are quite different on Construction Management contracts.
  • The project management (PM) role here is a lot more financially orientated and financially hands-on with primary responsibility for compilation and issuance of budgets and forecasts etc. to clients/owners and internal company reporting. Most of this role is fulfilled by a quantity surveyor (QS) in Ireland whilst the PM will manage the overall process; the PM will review the budgets and forecasts but not actually produce them.
  • The majority of subcontracts are lump sum and most PM’s will typically tender and award each subcontract package themselves.
  • Winter construction and seasonal work in Alberta means you take on a big learning curve and is something that we don’t deal with in Ireland. We typically don’t pour concrete in Ireland below +5 degree Celsius; we pour concrete in Alberta into the high minus teens!

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Learn Canadian! We had done a lot of preparation and research and suppose the only thing to do next, was actually move and grab the bull by the horns and go for it!

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked?

It is similar to Ireland in the boom years – good positive and dynamic environment to work in.

What are the main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

  1. Adjust to a new company’s management style and expectations.
  2. Big learning curve on the financial reporting and forecasting side of things
  3. Winter Construction
  4. Subtrade scope delineation is somewhat different.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

Asking my colleagues plenty of questions!

How is the work-life balance in your profession?

I would guess that work-life balance in the construction industry in general is not good but it is also my view that this is really dependent on two key drivers:

  1. Company Ethos
  2. Personal Preference and Time Management

Clark Builders promote a good work-life balance and I personally have always maintained a good work-life balance – work to live rather than live to work!

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry?

The construction industry is booming here in Alberta so there is a lot of potential to gain some great experience for future career growth. Also, there will always be construction in some part of the world!

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

The genuineness of the people, the Rockies, camping (hard-core tenting style), Alexander Keith’s (Canadian beer) and curling!

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Get out there, get acquainted and make friends and get a good babysitter!

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

That is the Million Dollar Question… who knows what the future holds?

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

If you are going to do something, do it with a smile or it will take all the good out of it.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

I will answer this in terms of Construction Project Managers looking to relocate to Canada;

  • Come with an open mind and be prepared to take a step back for a year or so until you adapt to the PM role here in Canada. This will also probably be reflected in your initial offer in terms of starting salary.
  • There is a good contingent of Irish people and other nationalities now living and working in Canada. Reach out and connect – you will generally know someone who knows somebody who can give good advice about a company you are dealing with or an area that you are looking to relocate to. LinkedIn is a good resource for this.
  • Be prepared to make some lifestyle changes as it may take up to 18 to 24 months or so to become financially stable; this is very much dependent on personal circumstances. There are a lot of initial out-lay costs which is inherently associated with any major relocation.

Follow Colin’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career as a Construction Project Manager in Edmonton like Colin?

Read more about how Outpost Recruitment helps job seekers

Other articles in this series:

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How can I be a Mechanical Engineer in Canada? Our career profile of Eoghan Hayes.

Curious about a career as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada? Get a snapshot of what it’s like, thanks to this career profile of Eoghan Hayes.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Eoghan Hayes chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

Eoghan Hayes – Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

Mechanical Engineer in Canada: Eoghan HayesEoghan moved to Vancouver from Ireland in 2007.

In 2005, he graduated from Dublin Institute of Technology, Bolton Street, with a degree in Building Services Engineering and a Diploma in Electrical Services Engineering.

Since moving to Canada, Eoghan has gained extensive consulting experience in mechanical HVAC and plumbing design and building computer energy simulation, before setting up his own consulting company in 2014.

Eoghan believes the industry today is designing backwards and his business addresses the needless divide between mechanical HVAC design and energy modelling simulation.

His consulting firm, Ions Engineering, integrates these functions and combined as part of his approach to the integrated design process ensuring the building energy systems perform in reality as they have been modeled and designed.

Eoghan has demonstrated significant cost and energy saving results using energy modeling as a design tool throughout his career.

When Eoghan is not pushing the boundaries to come up with new innovative ways of saving energy he enjoys running, reading and socializing and spending time with his girlfriend.

Your move to Canada

I moved to Canada on December 13, 2006 with two college friends.

My friends and I had previously traveled on J1 visas to Boston. We decided to go to Vancouver as everyone seemed to be going to Australia and we wanted to go somewhere different. We wanted to go somewhere that had a summer (so that we could lie on the beach) and a winter where there was snow.

Our plan was to come to Canada for a year and then go to Australia for year and then move home to Ireland. Eight years later and phase two of the plan has yet to be implemented!

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

I completed an honours degree in Building Services Engineering in DIT Bolton Street in 2005 and a diploma in Electrical Services engineering in DIT Kevin Street two years prior.

Prior to traveling to Canada I wanted to get some work experience in engineering at home as I knew it would be easier to secure employment abroad with experience, versus just coming over right out of college. I worked at home for 18 months prior to moving to Canada.

Working in construction in Ireland from 2005 to 2006 was great as I was able to gain valuable experience in the workplace that you just don’t get in an educational environment.

This included working with some great architects and engineers and getting to know how the construction business in Ireland operated; in addition, I got to use both of the educational qualifications which I was not able to do once I moved to become a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

In Vancouver, engineering consultancies do not have combined teams of electrical and mechanical engineers; teams either focus solely on mechanical or electrical design.

This seemed counter-intuitive to the integrated design process many consultancies advertise as part of their service offerings to clients. In the end, as part of my first interview here I chose to be Mechanical Engineer in Canada as it was a steeper learning curve and typically has a greater impact, energy-wise, on the amount of energy a building consumes.

I still miss electrical engineering to this day, but thankfully in my new role I’m starting to use my electrical knowledge more and more.

Preparing for the move

Prior to moving, I knew with the Winter Olympics being hosted in Vancouver in early 2010 that the construction industry would be busy in Vancouver. Having said that, it still took nearly seven weeks to secure employment in Vancouver; this was mainly due to the time of the year.

Also, the industry can be quite close-knit, so if you don’t have a contact in a company or in the industry it can be hard to get a start. Networking is critical for finding employment as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada.

I brought some college notes over I knew I would use as the engineering programs studied in DIT are very industry specific and you actually do end up referring to college notes to execute day-to-day tasks and calculations. I also emailed some companies here prior to coming to Canada and updated my resume (CV).

I had worked in Boston on three J1 visas from 2002 to 2004 in a restaurant and a bike shop so I had a bit of knowledge on North American culture.

This was great experience as I had a really great mentor in the bike shop who taught me valuable customer service lessons that are key to effectively communicating in North America. His bike shop is located on a street with two competing bike shops located either side of his bike shop, to this day he still runs a very successful business and has remained open for over 83 years.

Your professional development in Canada

At first my current role was very hard to settle into. I thought Canada was on the metric system prior to moving here – it is, but because of its close proximity to the US, the industry uses both metric and imperial units and it can be hard to translate between the two in your head.

There was steep learning curve initially, but after about six to eight months I got the hang of it and adapted to the industry here.

Thankfully, I got to work on some very interesting projects in Vancouver: a 25-storey high-rise office that is LEED platinum rated; and VanDusen Botanical Gardens, a visitor’s center building that is targeting net zero energy and water on site. I also got to work with some great engineers from Canada, Serbia and England who have over 80 years of experience combined.

After four years of working for a consultancy, I decided to move into retrofitting of existing buildings with geo-exchange energy. During this time I got to project manage a large geo-exchange project and design the first mechanical geo-exchange retrofit of an existing high-rise building in Canada.

With eight years of working in Canada and knowledge of new and existing building system mechanical design I decided to set up my own computer-based building energy modeling simulation company to bridge the gap between computer building energy simulation and how buildings actually perform in reality.

At first I intended to work for one company and move up the corporate ladder, however after four years at both companies I concluded I can make a greater impact to building owners (clients) and design teams if I was part of an independent energy simulation company, with no vested interest in any particular renewable technology, system type or outcome.

Working environment as an Mechanical Engineer in Canada

The main challenge I had to overcome in my role was accepting how hard design engineers are expected to work here.

The construction industry is ruthless and project deadlines must be met. Sometimes engineers (who have no training or experience in this arena) get promoted to project management positions.

As a result, proper mentoring and project planning tend to be compromised. They have to endure long hours of overtime and lots of stress is put on them and the engineers on the team they are managing (or should I say, mismanaging).

Right now, the industry is so busy that it is hard to get a proper work-life balance unless you demand it and schedule your time properly. You need to learn to manage up in this industry and make you sure you allocate timeframes in your calendar for all tasks.

I found it was easier to open up my calendar and ask project managers which tasks you want to divert to a later date, rather than to just say I’m busy working on ‘X’. This way you throw the ball in their court and encourage them to project manage more effectively.

Working in engineering consultancy can be very challenging, especially when you first move to Canada and need to get up to speed on local codes and standards.

I spent many hours doing overtime to ensure I was getting up to speed on these areas so I was less stressed out and was more of a benefit to my employer (who at the time, was sponsoring my permanent residency application).

You also need to do some work on getting up to speed here. Learning is your responsibility, nobody else’s. It’s up to you to get the information you need to execute your job; a good mentor will point you to where to find it but they won’t learn it for you.

I say this as I have seen many young engineers blame senior engineers on not being mentored properly or being taught properly. If you don’t know something, find the answer yourself – this is something you learned or should have come across in university and the industry is no different.

Career prospects are excellent for anyone wishing to be an Electrical or Mechanical Engineer in Canada at the moment. The city is very green-conscious and wants to be the greenest city in North America by 2020. This is a big challenge, especially with the current rate of property development in the Lower Mainland.

Your lifestyle in Canada

The lifestyle is what I like about Canada the most, and how close everything is in Vancouver. I used to spend nearly three hours commuting to and from work in Dublin; in Vancouver my travel time is, on average, 30 minutes each day.

The scenery and the amenities in the city are great; in addition I feel very safe here, there is little to no crime except bicycle theft and handbag snatching from cars.

It’s a very easy city with lots to do and lots of events on all the time. The city does not really feel like a city, it’s very small and condensed compared to other North American cities.

More of my friends from college moved over here in 2008 and 2009 and are still here. This definitely helped as it is always better to have friends with you from home and you can help one another out and can relate to one another better.

At present I do call Canada home, but I would not rule out of the possibility of returning home to Ireland (especially if I have a family one day). For the moment, though, I can’t think of a better place to be at this stage of my life.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?
Work hard and smart, if you don’t know something go and find the answer and take on what you want achieve, don’t blame others for anything.

If you don’t like something change it, don’t complain about it.

What advice would you give to people looking for work as a Mechanical Engineer in Canada?

Make sure your resume is specific not just to not just the industry but also the job you are going for. Network, network and network.

There is a great Irish community here that can help make your journey of gaining successful employment easier.

One of the great aspects of Irish culture is our desire to help our neighbours – don’t forget this when you leave Ireland. There is a reason there is an Irish pub in every country and major city in the world.

Follow Eoghan’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career like Eoghan’s and be a Mechanical Engineer in Canada?

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How can I be a Commercial Business Manager in Canada? Our career profile of Richard Shipway.

At Outpost Recruitment, we strive to build learning tools to help newcomers be successful in Canada. We’ve invited a range of successful immigrants, across various construction and engineering roles, to share their experience in moving to Canada and growing their career.

In the latest of our series, Richard Shipway chats with Ruairi Spillane and shares his experience in moving to Canada and his wide-ranging career.

Commercial Business Manager in CanadaRichard Shipway – Commercial Business Manager in Canada – Axiom Builders

Richard was born in the UK, and emigrated to Vancouver in 1997. Richard and his wife have settled in North Vancouver.

Richard is strongly involved in the Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA).

Over his twenty years in the Vancouver construction market, Richard has worked with Altus Group, Ledcor and Axiom Builders.

Your move to Canada

Why did you choose Canada?

My great uncle had immigrated to Red Deer, Alberta, 80 years ago so I was always curious about Canada.

I came to Canada for the first time on vacation 21 years ago with my wife, and did a road trip around British Columbia and Alberta taking in the Rockies. It was absolutely spectacular and reinforced our wish to live in such a beautiful, clean, vibrant city.

We decided we both needed a new challenge, and we focused on living in Vancouver.

Was career progression or lifestyle a bigger decision factor in the decision?

Definitely lifestyle. When I lived in the UK, I spent up to four hours commuting each day and worked a 12-hour day. I had lots of money but no lifestyle.

What made you choose Vancouver?

We fell in love with Vancouver when we visited. The weather in Vancouver seemed to be very similar to what we were used to in the UK, given it doesn’t get too harsh winters like other parts of Canada. We also knew that Vancouver was a very progressive city so there would be lots of opportunity. And of course, the people: friendly, welcoming, and diverse.

Did you move alone?

I moved with my new wife, just five days after our wedding in December 1997. Canada was going to be a long-term honeymoon for us.

Your education and professional experience prior to Canada

What motivated you to study Quantity Surveying?

I spent my summers as a teenager working in construction.

When I left school, I worked with a general contractor, gaining lots of experience in various roles in the company. After doing some estimating, I thought being a QS was the best fit for me.

I changed companies and was employed as a QS with a day at University. After two years, I had gained a diploma. Afterwards, I went to university full-time for two years to gain my degree in Quantity Surveying, and RICS designation.

To what extent did your career diverge from the original plan (if any)?

Having started as a labourer for a summer job with a contractor, my career evolved as each new opportunity was found or presented itself.

It’s always important to be flexible and willing to try new things. You never know where you will end up.

Briefly highlight your career path prior to moving to Canada.

1991 – 1995 > QS consultancy
1996 – 1997 > Senior QS with Takenaka (UK)
1998 – 2003 > Cost Consultant with Altus Group in Vancouver
2003 – 2009 > Senior PM with Ledcor Group
2009 – 2017 > Project Director with Ledcor Group
2017 – Present > Commercial Business Manager in Canada with Axiom Builders

Preparing for the move

What did you know about your career prospects in Canada?

Very little. I was 30 years old and keen for adventure so promised myself to give a two-year minimum trial. Doing some research at home, I sent out half a dozen prospective resumes and made some initial contact to various potential employers.

What did you do to prepare for your move? What was the biggest challenge?

Speaking with other British expats was very useful in terms of understanding how things differ between the UK and Canada. Being open to working quite differently and embracing it was crucial to my success in Canada from a work perspective. Always being humble and respectful.

Had you previously worked in a foreign country?

No, and hadn’t really ever considered it either.

Did you have a professional network in Canada prior to your move?

No. I had chatted with one individual prior to my move, but had no solid contacts in Canada. When we arrived, we knew nobody at all.

Your professional development in Canada

How did you find your current role?

I was contacted by an industry recruiter I had known for many years about an opportunity to lead a new division in an existing leading general contractor. After several months of discussion, I started in my new role – re-energized, and excited to start something new.

Was there anything you could have done prior to your move to prepare?

Selling my house in the UK prior to my move would have made things much easier. I would strongly encourage anyone moving to wrap up your business at home first. It’s a big move changing countries and there’s lots to learn and enjoy – so to concentrate on that is enough for anyone.

Have your career objectives changed since you arrived?

Totally. I’m now involved in various construction associations and represent my company at many levels, so my role is much more political and industry-shaping. Promoting the construction industry with children is something I really enjoy and I’m also involved in more volunteering and a diversified field of mentoring.

Working environment in Canada

Is the working environment in Canada similar or different to previous locations in which you have worked? ?

There was little quality of life for me working in the UK 20 years ago, but I hope things may have changed. Canada has a great work-life balance, and there is a strong emphasis on networking, especially in Vancouver. It’s considered OK to leave the office at 6pm and leaving before your boss!

Canada is a large country, so different experiences are available in different areas. The principles of collaboration, hard work, humility, respect, and fun remain.

What are the three main challenges you had to overcome to adapt to your role?

  • Re-inventing myself as a Project Manager as my background was as a QS.
  • Networking, and lots of it – it’s all about who you know in Vancouver.
  • Different approach to business, processes, and procedures, much more relaxed and people-centric.

What actions did you take to help you settle into your new work environment?

  • Research in the form of informational interviews,
  • Networking – meeting as many people as possible,
  • Getting involved in as many events and organizations as I could,
  • Being open to learn, especially in a different way. Asking questions more often.

How is the work-life balance in your profession?

Great. The focus here is on getting the job done instead of clock watching. Titles are much more irrelevant, as are qualifications on business cards, and we generally work as a team to succeed.

How would you rate the career prospects for newcomers in your role/industry??

Very strong. The workload continues to be strong in Canada, leading the world in P3’s, for example. It’s a very stable and secure country with strong growth, and plenty of room for opportunities and innovation.

The industry actively recognizes more qualified people are required in all roles, and is much more sophisticated in its growth and training opportunities.

Your lifestyle in Canada

What do you like most about Canada?

  • Safe, clean, happy country.
  • Lots of opportunity here with a strong stable economy.
  • It’s a young country which means there is lots of innovation, heavily backed by the federal government.
  • Lots of exciting construction projects taking place, innovative and world-leading.
  • The business environment is very much people-focused with a strong emphasis on networking.

What actions did you take to help you settle in Canada on a personal/family level?

Focusing on my kids really helped me integrate, by taking part in schools and activities.

Getting involved and enjoying the place I live in. Being a tourist is okay even when you live here.

Do you see Canada as a long-term home?

I’ve been here for 19 years now, so yes! I have had offers from other parts of the world but it’s difficult to leave Vancouver. It’s a beautiful, secure place, full of opportunity and a real life balance. My two sons were born here, and even though we have travelled extensively, this is still home.

Success factors

What was the best career advice you have received?

Be humble, respectful, and treat people well. Respect, listen and seek advice from others.

What advice would you give to people looking for work in your field?

  • Your word and integrity are extremely important in Canada. Building strong relationships and networking to build your contacts will help you succeed
  • Don’t reinvent your career before you come here. Get established here before you make any career changes.
  • Be patient and have a 5-year plan
  • Move for lifestyle and not $$

Follow Richard’s path

Interested in working in construction or engineering within Canada? Want to build a career like Richard Shipway’s?

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