On-Site Magazine

November a difficult month for building permits

By Adam Freill   

Commercial Construction Industrial Institutional Residential

Building permit values drop in almost all sectors in Canada as both residential and non-residential values find red ink.

Building permits, November 2023. (Source: Statistics Canada, Table 34-10-0285-01, Building permits, by type of structure and type of work.)

Building permits took a bit of a hit in November, according to the latest figures released by Statistics Canada. The total monthly value of building permits in Canada decreased 3.9 per cent from October, landing at $10.9 billion for the month. Declines were posted across almost all building type components.

Despite eight provinces with monthly gains in residential construction intentions, the total value of residential permits declined 2.8 per cent overall to $7 billion in November. Falls of more than 19 per cent in British Columbia and 17 per cent in Quebec more than offset the residential gains in the rest of the country in November. The Atlantic provinces collectively increased residential permit values by 30 per cent to reach $421.8 million in November, the highest monthly value for the region in the first 11 months of 2023. Similarly, the Prairie provinces posted their highest monthly level in the first 11 months of 2023, up 9.8 per cent from October as permit values hit $1.4 billion.

In the non-residential space, all three components were contributors to the overall decline. The total monthly value of non-residential building permits decreased 5.8 per cent from October to $3.9 billion.

The commercial component decreased for a third consecutive month, dipping 3.5 per cent from October. Permit values in the commercial component have been trending down since a record high of $2.9 billion was set in March of 2023. Year over year, the $1.7 billion value of commercial permits issued in November 2023 was 16.2 per cent less than November 2022 levels.


The industrial segment posted $862 million in permits in November, a drop of 7.2 per cent from October, and almost 20 per cent lower than the same month one year earlier.

Institutional permits were also off considerably in November, falling 7.9 per cent from a month earlier, although that segment remains a bright spot on a year-over-year basis. The November 2023 figures were 20.4 per cent higher than November of 2022.





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