Rock to Road

Canada’s largest hands-on construction trades career exhibition coming to Ottawa

Nearly 7,000 students and career seekers expected to "try a trade" at Future Building 2017.

May 10, 2017  By Ontario Construction Secretariat

Photo: OCS

May 10, 2017 – Thousands of students from across the province will descend on Ottawa for the country’s largest annual skilled construction trades career exhibition between May 16 and 18. Hosted by the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) with support from Employment Ontario, Future Building 2017 presents young people with hands-on opportunities to explore all areas of the skilled trades sector.

In its thirteenth year as an event, Future Building invites students, teachers, new career seekers and the general public to learn about skilled construction trades ranging from crane operation to masonry and electrical work. Attendees can speak one-on-one with industry professionals, apprentices and trade organizations to learn about careers in the construction trades, how technology affects the trades, and the educational path for starting an apprenticeship program.

“Job openings are on the rise as the baby boomer population enters retirement. Skilled professionals are in demand, are very well-paid, and the aptitudes required to succeed are changing as projects become more technically advanced,” said Joe Keyes, president of the Board of Directors for the OCS. “We’ve partnered with exceptional organizations to produce an extraordinary show and to help participants explore opportunities in a unique hands-on way.”

Ottawa is in the midst of a historic infrastructure project with the rehabilitation of the Parliament Buildings. With the $860 million West Block rehabilitation project nearing completion in 2018, planning is already underway for the $1 billion Centre Block project. These projects, combined with the Ottawa LRT and the LeBreton Flats redevelopment, mean demand for construction trades in the Ottawa region will increase. Retirement demands also loom large in Eastern Ontario. 


According to BuildForce Canada’s report, Construction & Maintenance Looking Forward, over 11,000 workers are expected to retire over the next 10 years in Eastern Ontario. Clearly, the industry will need to work hard to attract and train new workers in the construction industry. Future Building is one important component in creating awareness about the career opportunities in the construction skilled trades.

Throughout the three-day exhibition, Future Building 2017 expects 7,000 students representing more than 110 schools from school boards across the GTA and Eastern Ontario. There will also be an evening session on Wednesday, May 17 from 5pm – 8pm with a focus on young adults considering a career change.

Future Building 2017 is a free event and takes place at the EY Centre. For more information, including a full list of exhibitors and registration details, please visit

Future Building 2017
Future Building is a three-day hands-on construction career exhibition that helps young people, teachers, educators and the public better understand opportunities in Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional construction industry. The exhibition is a joint initiative with the OCS in partnership with Employment Ontario. Direct in-kind involvement from the building trade unions and management representatives who work in Ontario’s unionized construction industry is a key part of the exhibition.

About the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
OCS was formed in 1993 as a joint labour/management organization representing 25 unionized construction trades and their contractor partners in Ontario’s industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) construction sector. Its mandate is to enhance Ontario’s ICI construction industry by developing relationships, facilitating dialogue, providing value-added research, disseminating important information to client groups and promoting the value of ICI unionized construction across Ontario and beyond. Visit the OCS online at

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