Best Construction Unions in Canada


This site aims to explore and delve into unions that make up and help strengthen the Canadian construction industry. This site provides insight into some of the different construction unions as well as the benefits, myths and misconceptions as well as the history of unions in the construction industry and in Canada at large.

In Canada, construction and the sectors and divisions that make up the construction industry are known to be some of the most heavily unionized in the country, not unlike similar industries and sectors in other countries. Over 30% of those working in Construction are covered by a collective agreement or union, which is one of the highest ratios across all industries. There are a number of strong unions that make up the Canadian construction industry, each of which is unique in their composition, mission and mandate. Below are a few examples of these strong unions.

Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU)

This union is made up of over 500 000 construction workers whose work in over 60 trades makes up about 15% of the GDP in Canada. As with many unions, one of the primary focuses and functions of this unit is creating relationships and ties with counterparts in other countries and even in other industries.

The work of this union focuses on ensuring and working towards the best quality of life for members and this includes ensuring fair and reasonable pay, adequate benefits, job and workplace safety as well as fair, equitable and inclusive treatment and practices. The union develops programs for training, hiring and retention of its members as well. The union also works to advocate and work with local and national level government bodies to better the profession, the industry and all of the trades that make up the union.

Christian Labour Association of Canada

The Christian Labour Association of Canada, whose motto is ‘creating better workplaces together’ is a union that was founded and exists on the principle and core value of mutual respect- between employer and employee that is. The union was founded on basic Christian principles and values.

CLAC is a unique type of union and focuses on creating better workplaces for all. This union has been around since 1952 and spans multiple sectors including healthcare and construction as two of the primary industries covered. The union is large in size and scope and has over 60 000 active members.

Construction & Specialized Workers’ Union (CSWU)

This union is a great example of a strong regional union. This union exists and represents workers in all facets of construction from those working in hydro to mines and everything in between. There are over 6 000 members. The union covers those in both British Columbia as well as the northern province of Yukon.

This union is diverse in the sectors it covers and focuses on but at its core does work to make workplaces safer, equitable and better for those who work there.

International Brotherhood Of Electrical Workers – Construction Council of Ontario (IBEW)

IBEW, as it is less formally known is a group of 11 unions and almost 20 000 workers in different electrical sectors. From industrial electric work to renewable energy, this is a strong and unified union. The self-identified and recognized mission and mandate of this union are to protect and advocate for the workers. The union also works to promote the electrical industry and educate youth and prospective members on the industry and all of its benefits.

Myths and Misconceptions

Some of the myths and misconceptions about unions, especially construction unions include:

  • Unions make it impossible to fire or let poor performers go. Despite the fact that unions can help with job protection, they do not prevent against reasonable and justified termination. The union simply enforces the right processes to do so.
  • Unions aren’t needed in today’s modern workforce. This is especially untrue in the trades and construction as unions are crucial to the education of youth and institutions in order to promote the trades and the value they add to our country.