What’s Wrong with the Canadian Elevator Industry?

November 26, 2018
3 min read

The decline in Canadian elevator service is linked to a mix of industry problems and external factors including lack of qualified mechanics, cost pressures, changing demographics and regulatory reforms, which have all converged to create a challenging environment.

Here are 5 challenges the Canadian elevator industry is currently facing:


One of the issues facing Canada’s elevator industry stems from a shortage of qualified elevator mechanics. This results in “route loading”- slightly increasing the number of elevators a technician needs to service on their route. As their routes get bigger and more unmanageable, mechanics struggle to keep up with the number of elevators they must maintain.


There has also been a change in the demographics of elevator mechanics. Many of the industry’s senior mechanics have retired and new mechanics are joining the trade. These younger mechanics lack the experience to troubleshoot as effectively as the more experienced ones which leads to higher call-back rates..


There are more elevators than ever before, but they aren’t all brand-new. Elevator contractors are increasingly dealing with a dilemma as parts, and technicians familiar with the aging equipment, become hard to find or disappear altogether. 1,500 of Ontario’s 18,000 residential elevators are more than 50 years old, and 10,000, the majority, are between 25 and 50 years old. Even with regular maintenance, older equipment is more prone to need regular service or part replacement. These new parts commonly come from abroad, which means service or repairs for older elevators not only happen more frequently, they often take longer, since parts take longer to obtain.


The TSSA reported that “Contractors responded to 9,649 elevator entrapments in 2016 across residential and institutional buildings” which is “the equivalent of 26 elevator entrapments per day in Ontario”. Canada’s major elevator companies have come under scrutiny for entrapments, breakdowns and delayed repairs. However, according to an experienced elevator mechanic and consulting engineer, “Doubling the number of entrapments from 2001 to 2016 is not unreasonable given factors such as increased population, increased number of elevators, and the increased ability to report an entrapment.” There is a record number of elevators being built in Toronto, due to the number of new high-rise buildings and condos being built in the city, and not enough mechanics to maintain them. With so many elevators to service, today’s trained technicians have more work to do than ever before.


Elevator codes and regulations are constantly changing. Cat 1 and Cat 5 testing, MCPs, Directors Orders and revoked Directors Orders, and then there are the new Ontario laws that have been passed but not yet enforced. It can be a challenge to keep on top of them all. If you don’t have a process to stay on top of them, you could be non-compliant and your business will be fined.

Contact FIELDBOSS for more information on how our software can help your elevator service company run a profitable and efficient program amidst the complicated world of the Canadian elevator industry.

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