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What has shaped Canada’s workforce and workplace over the last 150 years?

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The Canadian construction industry is described at times as a laggard when it comes to innovation and evolution in how things are built. However, as the nation celebrates its 150th anniversary, a look back at how construction has delivered projects unveils numerous stories of evolution, innovation and lessons learned.

In today’s second installment of our Building Canada 150 series we look at the topic of labour and workplace evolution. In particular, we focused on how Canadian immigration policy has impacted the nation’s workforce, the evolution of workplace safety, the health scourge known as asbestos and a reflection on the contributions of immigrant Chinese workers in building the Canadian Pacific Railway — widely hailed as Canada’s first megaproject.

Building Canada 150 is our five-part series which aims to inform Canadians about construction’s role in creating the nation many of us proudly call home.

The Daily Commercial News and the Journal of Commerce have covered Canadian construction for almost 200 years combined and we feel we are in the best position to explore the role the industry has played in Canadian history.

We have three more Building Canada 150 installments set to roll out between now and mid-November. In time for Canada Day, our third installment looks at the iconic projects which define Canada.

After that, in September, we will take a closer look at the construction methods and materials used over the last 150 years in construction. Our last installment is slated for November and that looks at the natural resource projects which have positioned Canada’s economy both domestically and internationally.

We hope you enjoy today’s installment of Building Canada 150. Visit and for ongoing Building Canada 150 stories. Also, listen to our national podcast, The Construction Record, for further Building Canada 150 series insights and all our regular construction industry coverage.

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