Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Niagara Region ranked 5th best place in Canada to purchase real estate in the early months of 2020, and now many top officials and residents are wondering what the economic outlook looks like post-COVID-19.
When the province deemed construction as an essential service under the COVID19 Emergency Order, The Niagara Home Builders’ Association (NHBA) and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) worked around the clock to ensure that jobsites throughout the Region improved their health and safety plans to adhere to the strict protocol needed to maintain a safe environment for all involved.
The residential construction industry contributes over $51 billion to Ontario’s economy, employing over 330,000 people.
“The demand for housing in this area is still rising. Our member builders are abiding by all of the health & safety policies that have been put in place to ensure everyone’s safety on the jobsite.”
Although the road ahead is a bumpy one, McShane maintains that the outlook is still positive. The NHBA continues to maintain a strong working relationship with the Niagara Region and 12 local municipalities about the economic recovery plan.
“We are very happy to see the resumption of housing construction activities in the Niagara Region and will continue to offer support and guidance to our local building community as needed,” notes Rino Mostacci, commissioner, Planning and Development for the Niagara Region.
“Niagara is a resilient force to be reckoned with and as time ticks on, we will once again rise up.”
The continuation of construction activities now allows the industry to meet increasing housing, commercial building and renovation needs of the region, and across throughout Ontario.
“Our number one focus is on the safety of jobsites, workers and clients. Getting our industry safety back to work means we can get back to providing the housing supply and choice our community needs, from renovations to new home builds to adding new commercial workspace in Niagara” said NHBA executive officer Chuck McShane.
Niagara had begun to climb its way up out of past setbacks, looking toward a bright future created in part by the notorious “housing boom,” he added.
In a recent study the Niagara Workforce Planning Board concluded that 11,000 people in Niagara lost their employment in March 2020 due to COVID19, with accommodations and food service industries hit the hardest by layoffs, followed by the retail sector.
Some who lived in the Region during the 2008/2009 recession may recall the double digit unemployment rates, lack of amenities and stalled economic growth, and many worry that history could be poised to repeat itself, the NHBA said in a news release.
“We have come too far as a Region to let this pull us back down,” said NHBA president Tony Alfieri. “Construction has pulled us out of previous recessions, and it will do the same this time around.”