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Building permits, October 2016

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Released: 2016-12-08

Building permits — Canada

$7.6 billion

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$44.1 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$20.6 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$105.6 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$77.7 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,093.6 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$3,080.4 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$199.7 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$170.3 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,769.4 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,067.1 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$7.6 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$5.0 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.

$1.4 million

October 2016


(monthly change)

Municipalities issued $7.6 billion worth of building permits in October, up 8.7% from September. Higher construction intentions for commercial structures and residential dwellings in Alberta were responsible for much of the gain, as builders filed permits in advance of the changes in the provincial Building Code.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total value of permits
Total value of permits

The value of residential building permits rose 7.7% to $5.2 billion in October. This was the third consecutive monthly increase. Advances were posted in eight provinces, led by Alberta and followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

Construction intentions for non-residential buildings increased 10.7% to $2.5 billion in October, following a 21.4% drop in September. Gains were registered in eight provinces, led by Alberta. Quebec and Manitoba reported declines in the non-residential sector.

Residential sector: Single-family dwellings post the largest gain

The value of permits for single-family dwellings rose 7.7% to $2.8 billion in October, a third consecutive monthly increase. The advance mainly stemmed from higher construction intentions in Alberta and Ontario.

In the multi-family dwelling component, $2.3 billion worth of permits were issued in October, up 7.7% from September. This was the highest value for this component since October 2015. Seven provinces reported gains, led by Alberta and British Columbia.

Municipalities approved the construction of 19,116 new dwellings in October, up 7.9% from the previous month. The increase was led by single-family dwellings, up 11.8% to 6,819 new units. Multi-family dwellings advanced 5.9% to 12,297 new units.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Residential and non-residential sectors
Residential and non-residential sectors

Non-residential: Gain attributable to higher commercial building intentions

The value of permits in the commercial component rose 29.3% to $1.6 billion in October. Higher construction intentions for hotels, office buildings and retail complexes were mostly responsible for the increase. Seven provinces recorded gains, led by Alberta and distantly followed by Ontario.

In the industrial component, the value of permits fell 3.5% to $348 million in October. This was the second consecutive monthly decline. The drop was largely the result of lower construction intentions for primary industry buildings. Six provinces posted decreases, led by British Columbia and Ontario.

The value of institutional building permits fell 17.5% to $527 million in October. Lower construction intentions for nursing homes and educational institutions accounted for the majority of the decrease. Declines were posted in five provinces, most notably Ontario, Alberta and Quebec. Nova Scotia recorded the largest gain in this component.

Provinces: Alberta posts the largest advance

Higher construction intentions were posted in every province except Quebec in October. Alberta led the increase, followed by British Columbia and Ontario.

In Alberta, the value of building permits rose 40.4% to $1.8 billion in October. The gain stemmed from higher construction intentions for commercial buildings, single-family and multi-family dwellings. The increase in building permits in October was largely attributable to the end of the transition period for the implementation of the 2011 National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings and the "Energy Efficiency" section of the 2014 Alberta Building Code.

Municipalities in British Columbia issued $1.1 billion worth of permits in October, up 7.2% from the previous month. Higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial buildings led the advance.

In Ontario, the value of permits increased 1.9% to $3.1 billion in October, the third gain in four months. The advance was attributable to higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and single-family dwellings.

Conversely, the value of building permits in Quebec fell 6.6% to $1.1 billion in October. Every component except single-family dwellings posted a decrease. Lower construction intentions for commercial buildings led the decline, followed by institutional structures.

Higher construction intentions in half of the census metropolitan areas

In October, the total value of building permits was up in 17 of the 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were in Toronto and Calgary.

The value of building permits in Toronto rose 24.9% in October to $1.8 billion. Higher construction intentions for single-family dwellings and commercial buildings were largely responsible for the gain.

In Calgary, the value of building permits increased 60.9% in October to $923 million. While every component posted gains, higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and multi-family dwellings led the advance.

In contrast, the value of building permits in Hamilton fell 56.9% in October to $110 million, following a notable gain in September. The decline was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions for multi-family and single-family dwellings.

  Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitate comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The Building Permits Survey covers over 2,400 municipalities, representing 95% of the Canadian population. The communities representing the other 5% of the population are very small and their levels of building activity have little impact on the total for the entire population.

Building permits data are used as a leading indicator of activity in the construction industry.

The value of planned construction activities presented 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.

Unless otherwise specified, the highlights refer to seasonally adjusted current dollars and are ranked in terms of dollar change rather than percentage change.


Data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Data for the previous month have been revised.

Trend-cycle estimates have been added to the charts as a complement to the seasonally adjusted series. Both the seasonally adjusted and the trend-cycle estimates are subject to revision as additional observations become available. These revisions could be large and even lead to a reversal of movement, especially at the end of the series. The higher variability associated with the trend-cycle estimates is indicated with a dotted line on the chart.

For information on trend-cycle data, see the StatCan Blog and Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Next release

Data for November 2016 on building permits will be released on January 10, 2017.


The October 2016 issue of Building Permits (Catalogue number64-001-X) will soon be available.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Kaitlynn Carson (613-883-2396;, Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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