On-Site Magazine

Building permits jump 11 per cent

By Adam Freill   

Commercial Construction Industrial Institutional Residential

Double-digit gains in each of the non-residential segments set records as almost $12 billion in building permits were issued across Canada in March.

(Source: Statistics Canada, Table 34-10-0066-01, Building permits, by type of structure and type of work.)

Record-highs in the non-residential sector helped push the total monthly value of building permits in Canada upwards by more than 11 per cent in March, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada. Overall, $11.8 billion of permits were issued in the month.

The 32 per cent gains in the monthly non-residential figures were somewhat offset by weakness in the single-family residential component, but the total monthly value of non-residential permits hit a record high of $5.2 billion.

Among the permits were 10 individual non-residential projects that posted values of over $100 million each, the largest of which was the $570 million new General Motors and POSCO Chemical cathode active materials facility in Becancour, Que.

By segment, industrial building permits rose 16.7 per cent to $1.3 billion; commercial permits spiked upwards by 41.5 per cent to $2.8 billion; and institutional permits were up 29.5 per cent at $1.1 billion.


On the residential side, construction intentions stalled. Following a promising February, March saw the value of new residential permits taper off by a percentage point to $6.6 billion. Nationally, permits were issued for 21,400 new dwellings in the month.

Among the bright spots, British Columbia showed up well as construction intentions were up by more than 30 per cent, concentrated in metropolitan high-rise multi-dwelling developments. The four Atlantic provinces collectively also had notable monthly gains in multi-dwelling units, jumping by more than 40 per cent, and total residential permit values, which were up 14 per cent.

These gains were offset by declines in five provinces, including in Ontario, which dropped eight per cent and weighed down the sector.

Taking a broader look, the total value of building permits was up almost five per cent in the first quarter of 2023, reaching $32.4 billion and ending three consecutive quarterly declines.

The commercial component led the quarterly growth with a 17.2 per cent jump, much of which was from building permits issued in March. Overall, the non-residential sector expanded 16.1 per cent to a record-high of $13 billion in the first quarter of 2023, exceeding the previous quarterly record of $12.4 billion.

Residential construction intentions slid for the third consecutive quarter, dipping by 1.6 per cent to $19.4 billion. Declines in the value of residential permits were posted in six provinces, which more than offset gains in Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.




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