Each year as the President of the Barrie Construction Association, one of the responsibilities within the role is to develop these short letters and updates in the construction industry for various publications.
When I received this request early in September of 2020, I can assure you that these updates do not get any easier to prepare and while we all are doing our best to remain positive and doing our part to help reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our community and across the province and the country, I believe there are some positive signs in our economy and in our future.
As the need for housing continues to rise and home sales in Simcoe County and in the GTA continue to increase, we are benefitting from lower than normal interest rates which in turn has lead to spending and I hope this has translated to an increase in spending in the Industrial, Commercial, and Institutional (ICI) markets.
As we continue to watch markets and trends across the province, we are starting to see our economy begin to rebound and in the middle part of September, we are seeing some consumer confidence returning. Market analysts are also reporting that with the current pandemic status, the surrounding areas outside of the GTA (including Simcoe County) can see a large influx of migration from the GTA, some analysts indicate this number could be as high as two hundred thousand people.
This large influx of people to the surrounding areas will also help to drive housing and new housing starts in the Simcoe County area. This in turn, will help to drive the ICI industry and benefit our membership.
Other good news includes an expected rise of approx. 5.1 per cent in the current GDP in Ontario as well as a decreasing unemployment rate in Ontario. This will also translate to increased spending for Ontario residents.
And as we hope that the number of cases of COVID-19 continue to decrease and immigration into Canada and Ontario specifically again return to normal levels, major population areas, including Toronto and surrounding areas will again help to fuel the education sector and in turn present opportunities to drive training towards skilled trades to continue and fill the need for labour in the ICI workforce.
The Board of Directors and the staff at the BCA, in connection with the Council of Ontario Construction Association (COCA) will on your behalf continue to lobby our provincial government for funding and increased opportunity for skilled trades training, apprenticeships and opportunity for all of us to continue to grow our businesses.
During our current personal and economic conditions, with lower numbers in COVID-19 cases, there continues to be and increase in consumer confidence, which leads to increased spending. As I’m sure you are all aware, confinement and containment are key to moving out of our current situation.
I urge you all to do your best to do your part. As we move closer to the winter months, it is our responsibility to continue to be safe, follow our provincial governments direction and restrictions. We are all in this together, pay it forward, go the extra mile to be nice to everyone in these trying times and the when we are able to sit down over a beer or two, we will all have amazing stories to share.
Take care, be safe and keep smiling.
President, Barrie Construction Association