Energy Efficiency in Canada: a snapshot of key industries and employment opportunities


Energy efficiency is a key element to fight climate change. Initiatives in this sector can help Canada transition to a low-carbon economy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% by 2030.

In the Fall of 2018, ECO Canada conducted a comprehensive survey with 1,853 business establishments across Canada to capture a point-in-time snapshot of the workforce in terms of demographics, establishments, revenues and employment in six key industries.

According to respondents, the outlook for the energy efficiency sector in 2019 is positive: employment is projected to grow by 8.3%, resulting in 36,000 new jobs.

Here’s a few highlights.

Energy Efficiency & Employment Opportunities

Construction, Manufacturing, Wholesale Trade, Professional and Business Services, Utilities and Other Services are the industries that ECO Canada’s report analyzed for direct and permanent employment. Together, these industries generated $82.6 billion in estimated operating revenues in 2018, and 51,000 establishments employed around 436,000 workers in that same year.

Construction is, by far, the industry with the largest number of establishments, operating revenues and employment. Approximately, 287,000 individuals were employed, and 63% of them spent all or most of their time on activities directly related to energy efficiency.

Employment within the Professional and Business Services industry is projected to grow by 13.8% in 2019, followed by Manufacturing and Construction with 8.3% and 8.5% respectively.

All these industries are becoming more relevant to reduce climate pollution. Initiatives like the Better Buildings BC program encourage builders and developers of multi-family, commercial, and institutional buildings to design net-zero and energy-ready spaces. Program participants enter a juried competition, and the winners are presented with an award that recognizes them as leaders in energy efficient construction.

Expertise in energy efficiency is paramount to designing projects that foster sustainable solutions. Therefore, employment is expected to increase to keep supporting this and more initiatives.

Energy Efficiency & Hiring Challenges

At least 70% of employers across those six industries reported some difficulties in hiring suitable candidates within the past 12 months. Surveyed recruiters in Construction and Wholesale Trade said that it was “very difficult” to find prospects. The most cited reason for hiring difficulties was lack of qualified workers. Labour shortages, and location were also mentioned.

Employers can attract new talent by providing training to develop the skills required to perform tasks. At the same time, improving labour productivity and work intensity for existing workers is also a strategy to address the lack of qualifications issue.

For more information on energy efficiency employment in Canada, download the full report here:

Download report

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