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British Columbia and Ontario lead non-residential construction intention gains – building permits, August 2023

October 11, 2023 | By Anthony Capkun

October 11, 2023 – The total monthly value of building permits in Canada increased 3.4% in August 2023 to $11.9 billion, reports Statistics Canada, with strong gains in the non-residential sector offsetting modest declines in residential construction intentions.

The total monthly value of non-residential permits rose 14.8% to $5.0 billion in August, with gains concentrated in Ontario (+28.5% or +$503.8 million) and British Columbia (+45.5% or +$326.2 million).

Notably high-value non-residential permits were issued in August for two hospital renovations (Toronto and North Vancouver), a new university building in Kelowna, B.C., a new correctional facility in Thunder Bay, Ont., and a new arena in Whitby, Ont.


The total monthly value of residential permits declined 3.7% to $6.8 billion in August, led by weaker multi-unit construction intentions in Ontario (-15.8% or -$315.6 million), Manitoba (-44.9% or -$90.3 million), Quebec (-7.9% or -$57.1 million), and Nova Scotia (-27.3% or -$29.9 million).

These declines were partly offset by monthly gains in the value of single-family home permits. Across Canada, this component was up 5.5% to $2.9 billion in August, marking the fourth consecutive monthly increase for this component. This uptick follows a year of trending decline in construction intentions for single family homes from May 2022 to April 2023.

Removing the effect of changes in construction costs, on a constant dollar basis, the value of single-family home permits stood at $1.5 billion in August, still below the average monthly pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels of 2019 ($1.8 billion).

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