On-Site Magazine

Permits take polar dip

By Adam Freill   

Commercial Construction Industrial Institutional Residential

Statistics Canada reports monthly value of building permits in Canada dropped in all segments but commercial in January.

Building permits, January 2023. (Source: Statistics Canada, Table 34-10-0066-01, Building permits, by type of structure and type of work.)

The monthly total value of building permits in Canada decreased four per cent in January, coming in at $9.8 billion, reports Statistics Canada. Eight provinces reported contractions in January, with the multi-residential sector in British Columbia contributing significantly to the national fall.

Overall, the residential sector declined 6.6 per cent, reporting in at $6.1 billion for the month. Conversely, the non-residential sector was relatively stable thanks to a 5.4 per cent rise in commercial permits. Cumulatively, the industrial, commercial and institutional segments managed a modest increase of 0.7 per cent to $3.7 billion, although the commercial gains masked red ink in the other two components.

The downward trend in multi-family home permits continued as construction intentions declined 8.3 per cent for that segment in January. British Columbia saw a 28 per cent decline, or $301.2 million less than a December that had a significant number of urban development intentions. Single-family home permits were also off, decreasing 4.4 per cent.

While the non-residential sector posted relatively stable month-to-month figures, rising slightly to $3.7 billion, the January gains were on the strength of the commercial component.


Commercial permit values increased 5.4 per cent in January, with Ontario leading the charge with a rise of almost 23 per cent. This was the second consecutive monthly increase.

The value of building permits in the industrial component were off almost four per cent in January, with six provinces posting declines. After reaching its peak at over a billion dollars in November 2022, the component returned to more normal levels in January 2023.

Construction intentions in the institutional sector decreased almost six per cent in January. A 44 per cent jump in B.C. was not enough to offset losses in other provinces, including Quebec which was down more than 20 per cent.




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