Building permits

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July 2011 (correction) (Previous release)

The value of building permits edged down 0.6% to $6.6 billion in July, following increases of 2.8% in June and 20.9% in May. Lower construction intentions for the non-residential sector were partially offset by gains in the residential sector.

Total value of permits

Chart description: Total value of permits

In the residential sector, the value of permits nationally rose 2.4% to $3.9 billion, the third consecutive monthly gain. The increase occurred largely as a result of advances in the value of multi-family and single-family dwellings in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec.

After two consecutive monthly gains, permits in the non-residential sector decreased 4.5% to $2.7 billion. Declines in Quebec and Manitoba were partially offset by advances in the eight other provinces.

The total value of building permits increased in six provinces, led by Ontario. The largest decline occurred in Quebec, where building intentions fell in the non-residential sector following gains the previous three months.

Non-residential sector: Decrease in the industrial component

In the industrial component, the value of permits declined 40.1% in July to $368 million, following a large increase in June. The decline was mostly a result of lower construction intentions for utility buildings and transportation facilities in Ontario and for manufacturing plants in Quebec. Industrial intentions fell in four provinces, led by Ontario and Quebec.

Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations.

The Building Permits Survey covers 2,400 municipalities representing 95% of the population. It provides an early indication of building activity.

The communities representing the other 5% of the population are very small, and their levels of building activity have little impact on the total.

The value of planned construction activities shown in this release excludes engineering projects (for example, waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land.

For the purpose of this release, the census metropolitan area of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: Gatineau part and Ottawa part.


Preliminary data are provided for the current reference month. Revised data, based on late responses, are updated for the previous month.

In the institutional component, construction intentions rose 17.1% to $758 million in July, the third consecutive monthly increase. Intentions were up in four provinces, led by permits for educational facilities in Ontario and Saskatchewan.

In the commercial component, the value of permits remained largely unchanged at $1.6 billion, following a 16.0% decline in June. Gains in seven provinces were offset by declines in Quebec, Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.

Residential and non-residential sectors

Chart description: Residential and non-residential sectors

Residential sector: Increase in construction intentions in Ontario and Alberta

The value of building permits for single-family dwellings increased for a second consecutive month, up 3.4% from June to $2.3 billion in July. The advance was a result of higher construction intentions in Alberta and Ontario. Manitoba, on the other hand, posted the largest decrease in single-family construction intentions following two months of gains.

Municipalities issued $1.6 billion in building permits for multiple-family dwellings in July, up 1.0%, following a small decline in June. Permit values rose in six provinces, with Ontario, Quebec and Alberta accounting for most of the increase. After a substantial gain in June, British Columbia recorded the largest decline in multi-family construction intentions.

Municipalities across Canada approved 17,738 new dwellings, up 3.0% from June. The gain was the result of a 4.0% increase in multi-family dwellings to 10,629 units. The number of single-family dwellings rose 1.5% to 7,109 units.

Ontario posts the biggest gain

The total value of building permits increased in six provinces in July.

Ontario posted the largest increase, its third consecutive month of gains. The increase was mostly attributable to higher construction intentions for commercial and institutional buildings and to lesser extent multi-family dwelling permits.

Alberta posted the second highest increase in July, mostly from gains in single-family dwelling and commercial permits.

The largest decline in the value of building permits was in Quebec, following two months of gains. Declines in all three non-residential components exceeded an increase in the value of the residential permits.

Strong intentions in Toronto

The total value of permits increased in 16 of the 34 census metropolitan areas in July.

The largest increases occurred in Toronto and Edmonton. In Toronto, most of the increase originated from multi-family dwellings and institutional permits. In Edmonton, the gain came mainly from higher construction intentions for single-family dwellings.

The largest declines occurred in Montréal, London and Calgary. The declines in Montréal and Calgary came primarily from permits for commercial buildings, while in London, the main factor was a decline in institutional permits.

Available on CANSIM: tables 026-0001 to 026-0008 and 026-0010.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2802.

The July 2011 issue of Building Permits (64-001-X, free) will soon be available.

The August building permit data will be released on October 6.

To order data, contact Jasmine Gaudreault (toll-free 1-800-579-8533; 613-951-6321; For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Don Overton (613-951-1239), Investment and Capital Stock Division.