Atlantic Canada’s independent voice on economic issues

Construction & Major Projects

Economic Impacts of COVID-19 on Atlantic Construction

  • Construction activity is considered an essential service in Atlantic Canada and work continues at many job sites.
  • However, several large projects have been paused or postponed, especially in Newfoundland and Labrador. Overall major project investment spending in 2020 will be down considerably from 2019. (see chart below) or  Click here for more details.
  • Many projects that were scheduled to begin this year will be delayed until later in the year or into 2021. Maintenance and turnaround projects at industrial facilities will likely be postponed due to the large numbers of workers required.
  • The productivity of ongoing construction work will be negatively impacted by health and safety measures to protect workers from COVID-19 including physical distancing, staggering shifts and increased sanitization. Interprovincial mobility of workers has also been curtailed.

Quick Facts

  • Construction contributes $7.2 billion of GDP in Atlantic Canada, about 7% of the total GDP.
  • There are nearly 85,000 people employed in Atlantic Canada’s construction sector, about 7.5% of employment, making it Atlantic Canada’s 4th largest employer.
  • Average weekly wages in Atlantic Canada are $1,134, about 20% above the all-industry average.
  • Major Project investment in Atlantic Canada was expected to total about $12.5 billion in 2020, up slightly from last year.  Actual spending will be much lower due to the pause of several mega projects and the deferring of investment by many companies in the region due to COVID-19.

Major Project Capital Spending

APEC is monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and the related decline in output and commodity prices on capital spending for major investment projects in Atlantic Canada. The following chart shows APEC’s update for Major Project spending in the region.  The pause in several mega projects, lower productivity and deferral of activity will reduce 2020 investment by 35% in Atlantic Canada.


Follow this page for a summary of the initial effects on larger projects in the region. APEC will provide a further update in its May 20 webinar (check our Events page for details).

Click here for APEC Major Projects updates due to COVID-19


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