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Construction industry in northeastern Ontario 'cautiously optimistic' about year ahead
Posted: Mar 15, 2017

There is optimism throughout the province's construction industry when it comes to industrial, commercial and institutional projects.

That news comes from the Ontario Construction Secretariat and its annual survey of firms. But the survey also shows that confidence in northern Ontario is low.

The president of the Northeastern Ontario Construction Association uses the term 'cautiously optimistic' to describe the mood in the construction sector in northeastern Ontario.

"People don't want to assume it's going to boom, but they're thinking that things will be going ahead," Glenn Bot told CBC News. "They're maintaining their equipment and getting ready. I think people are hoping that — or are confident — things are  going to stay busy in the north." 

The survey shows large construction projects, like ones at Laurentian University, or work at mining companies, will help keep construction steady for the rest of 2017.

 

'We're going to be OK'

And about that low score when it comes to regional confidence? 

OCS spokesperson Sean Strickland says it's partly because, in comparison to southern Ontario, northern Ontario is neither as diversified, nor as big.

"That really drives the marketplace in terms of only a couple of sectors really to rely on," he said. "You have a much more diversified, much larger marketplace in southwestern Ontario, [which helps drive optimism]." 

Northeastern Ontario Construction Association board member Rick Cousineau says construction is typically quiet for northern Ontario in March. But he notes most contractors in the region expect work to pick up in a few months. 

"Most of the people that I'm speaking with say, 'You know what? We're going to be okay this year," Cousineau said. "Nobody has said this is going to be the banner year. But I don't think anybody is feeling that it's going to be the doomsday year."

 

OCS Construction Confidence Survey

With files from Angela Gemmill. Edited and packaged by Wendy Bird.