The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Building Permits Up 8.7% in October

Increase due to higher construction intentions in Alberta.

Municipalities issued C$7.6 billion (US$5.7 billion) worth of building permits in October, up 8.7 percent from September, according to Statistics Canada. Higher construction intentions for commercial structures and residential dwellings in Alberta were responsible for much of the gain, as builders filed permits in advance of the changes in the provincial Building Code.

The value of residential building permits rose 7.7 percent to C$5.2 billion (US$3.9 billion) in October. This was the third consecutive monthly increase. Advances were posted in eight provinces, led by Alberta and followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

Construction intentions for non-residential buildings increased 10.7 percent to C$2.5 billion (US$1.9 billion) in October, following a 21.4 percent drop in September. Gains were registered in eight provinces, led by Alberta. Quebec and Manitoba reported declines in the non-residential sector.

The value of permits for single-family dwellings rose 7.7 percent to C$2.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) in October, a third consecutive monthly increase. The advance mainly stemmed from higher construction intentions in Alberta and Ontario.

In the multi-family dwelling component, C$2.3 billion (US$1.7 billion) worth of permits were issued in October, up 7.7 percent from September. This was the highest value for this component since October 2015. Seven provinces reported gains, led by Alberta and British Columbia.

Municipalities approved the construction of 19,116 new dwellings in October, up 7.9 percent from the previous month. The increase was led by single-family dwellings, up 11.8 percent to 6,819 new units. Multi-family dwellings advanced 5.9 percent to 12,297 new units.

The value of permits in the commercial component rose 29.3 percent to C$1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in October. Higher construction intentions for hotels, office buildings and retail complexes were mostly responsible for the increase. Seven provinces recorded gains, led by Alberta and distantly followed by Ontario.

In the industrial component, the value of permits fell 3.5 percent to C$348 million (US$263.2 million) in October. This was the second consecutive monthly decline. The drop was largely the result of lower construction intentions for primary industry buildings. Six provinces posted decreases, led by British Columbia and Ontario.

The value of institutional building permits fell 17.5 percent to C$527 million (US$398.6 million) in October. Lower construction intentions for nursing homes and educational institutions accounted for the majority of the decrease. Declines were posted in five provinces, most notably Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. Nova Scotia recorded the largest gain in this component.

Higher construction intentions were posted in every province except Quebec in October. Alberta led the increase, followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

In Alberta, the value of building permits rose 40.4 percent to C$1.8 billion (US$1.4 billion) in October. The gain stemmed from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings, single-family and multi-family dwellings. The increase in building permits in October was largely attributable to the end of the transition period for the implementation of the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and the "Energy Efficiency" section of the 2014 Alberta Building Code.

Municipalities in British Columbia issued C$1.1 billion (US$832.1 million) worth of permits in October, up 7.2 percent from the previous month. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings led the advance.

In Ontario, the value of permits increased 1.9 percent to C$3.1 billion (US$2.3 billion) in October, the third gain in four months. The advance was attributable to higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and single-family dwellings.

Conversely, the value of building permits in Quebec fell 6.6 percent to C$1.1 billion (US$832.1 million) in October. Every component except single-family dwellings posted a decrease. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings led the decline, followed by institutional structures.

In October, the total value of building permits was up in 17 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were in Toronto and Calgary.

The value of building permits in Toronto rose 24.9 percent in October to C$1.8 billion (US$1.4 billion). Higher construction intentions for single-family dwellings and commercial buildings were largely responsible for the gain.

In Calgary, the value of building permits increased 60.9 percent in October to C$923 million (US$698.2 million). While every component posted gains, higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings led the advance.

In contrast, the value of building permits in Hamilton fell 56.9 percent in October to C$110 million (US$83.2 million), following a notable gain in September. The decline was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions for multi-family and single-family dwellings.

About the Author
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

By subscribing, you are agreeing to MDM’s Privacy Policy.

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.