OTTAWA — A recent survey of heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVACR) specialists found that most firms in the sector have experienced a drastic drop in business despite being deemed an essential service across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) released the results May 5.
The survey found 67 per cent of HVACR companies in Canada have seen a reduction of more than 30 per cent in year-over-year revenues since March 15 and 27 per cent have experienced a greater than 60 per cent decline.
Most contractors, however, have not substantially reduced their workforce. More than 60 per cent of businesses have seen layoffs of less than 30 per cent and almost 30 per cent of them have done no layoffs at all.
“The HVACR industry has been deemed an essential service by both the federal government and provincial governments across the country, and the sector has been responding as needed to the COVID-19 pandemic by continuing to service important equipment in both residential and commercial buildings,” said Sandy MacLeod, president and CEO of HRAI, in a release.
“The majority of companies in the sector have kept their employees on board, despite losing a significant portion of their revenues. This is due in part to the need for companies to continue servicing Canadians and businesses and also due to the availability of federal government programs that have helped companies make ends meet, for which the sector is grateful.”
The industry has begun discussions with different levels of government regarding the rollout of targeted programs that would stimulate economic growth and job creation by supporting energy efficiency and low-carbon upgrades to homes and buildings. Such programs would not only provide assistance to small businesses and homeowners across the country, but will also help Canada to meet its carbon reduction goals, the HRAI argued.
“Programs that incentivize Canadians and businesses to acquire more energy efficient equipment will help to lower costs for energy consumers and help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Skilled trades development will be more important than ever once we begin recovering from the pandemic,” said MacLeod.