The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Canadian Non-Residential Construction Spending Up 1% in 4Q

The increase was led by higher spending for commercial and industrial buildings.

Canadian investment in non-residential building construction was C$12 billion (US$12 billion) in the fourth quarter, up 1 percent from the previous quarter. The third consecutive quarterly increase was led by higher spending for commercial and industrial buildings.

Investment in non-residential building construction was up in six provinces, with the largest increases in Quebec and British Columbia. The gain in Quebec was spread among the institutional, industrial and commercial components, while the increase in British Columbia was in the commercial and industrial components.

The largest declines in total investment were in Ontario and Alberta. In Ontario, institutional investment was down, while in Alberta the decrease occurred in both the commercial and industrial components.

Investment increased in 18 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were in Vancouver, Montréal, Ottawa and Edmonton.

In Vancouver, investment rose in commercial, institutional and industrial buildings. In Montréal, spending was up for the sixth consecutive quarter, led by gains in the institutional and industrial components. Investment grew in all three components in Ottawa and Edmonton.

The largest declines occurred in Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, Calgary and Toronto. In Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo, investment declined for the sixth consecutive quarter as spending fell across all three components.

In Calgary, total investment fell following five consecutive quarters of growth. This drop was the result of declines in both the institutional and commercial components. In Toronto, the decrease was attributable to lower institutional spending.

Commercial building investment increased 1.7 percent to C$7.2 billion (US$7.3 billion), the fifth consecutive quarterly gain. Investment rose in seven provinces, led by higher spending on construction of retail and wholesale outlets.

The largest commercial gains were in British Columbia and Ontario. In British Columbia, it rose 7.8 percent to C$855 million (US$867 million), mostly attributable to higher spending for office buildings and retail and wholesale outlets.

In Ontario, investment rose 1.1 percent to C$2.6 billion (US$2.6 billion), spurred by increases in retail and wholesale outlets and storage facilities.

Commercial investment was down for the second consecutive quarter in Alberta, falling 0.4 percent to C$1.6 billion (US$1.6 billion).

Industrial investment was up for the fifth consecutive quarter, rising 3.3 percent to C$1.6 billion (US$1.6 billion). The largest gains occurred in Quebec and Ontario.

Investment in Quebec rose 9.6 percent to C$315 million (US$320 million), with most of the gain attributable to higher spending in the construction of manufacturing plants and maintenance buildings.

In Ontario, investment increased 4.1 percent to $579 million (US$587 million), led by spending for utility buildings and maintenance facilities.

The largest decline occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador, where investment fell 21.1 percent to C$47 million (US$48 million), as construction of some manufacturing plants neared completion.

Spending in the institutional component was C$3.1 billion (US$3.1 billion) in the fourth quarter, a 1.8 percent decline from the previous quarter and the eighth consecutive quarterly decline in this component nationally. Institutional investment fell in five provinces.

The largest decline was in Ontario, where investment fell 5.5 percent to C$1.6 billion (US$1.6 billion), the fifth consecutive quarterly decline. This reflected lower spending on the construction of educational buildings and health care facilities.

The largest increase occurred in Quebec, where investment rose for the third consecutive quarter. Institutional spending increased 6.7 percent to C$571 million (US$579 million). Most of the increase was attributed to higher spending for health care facilities.

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.