In recent months, Canadian publications have reported a severe shortage of skilled workers in British Columbia, including electrical workers. Some fear the shortage may slow down construction for the 2010 Winter Olympics, scheduled to take place in Vancouver. At the very least, it may drive up wages and, in turn, construction costs. But Steve Matheson, senior vice-president of venue development for the Vancouver Olympic Committee, downplays the affect of the shortage on Olympic construction. He says the city has $70 billion to $80 billion (Canadian dollars) in construction planned over the next five years, so the $800 million planned for Olympic-related construction is “a small part of the overall worker shortage picture.”

He says his strategy for ensuring that construction continues according to schedule is to simply convince his contractors to reserve space and give Olympic construction a higher priority over other options. However, others have reported that the Olympic committee may also use incentives like tickets to medal events to lure skilled workers. Construction is scheduled to begin in a few months and competition venues are scheduled for completion by 2008. Contractors interested in bidding on Olympic projects in Vancouver are encouraged to visit www.vancouver2010.com.