The Daily
 In the news  Indicators  Releases by subject
 Special interest  Release schedule  Information

Investment in non-residential building construction, second quarter 2017

Warning View the most recent version.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please "contact us" to request a format other than those available.

Released: 2017-07-17

Investment in non-residential building construction

$12.4 billion

Second quarter 2017

0.3% increase

(quarterly change)

Investment in non-residential building construction totalled $12.4 billion in the second quarter, up 0.3% from the previous quarter. This increase follows three consecutive declines. Nationally, the gain was the result of an increase in spending on the construction of industrial and commercial buildings. The institutional component declined for a second consecutive quarter.

Overall, six provinces posted increases in the second quarter, with Ontario reporting the largest upturn, followed by British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Investment in non-residential building construction
Investment in non-residential building construction

Ontario posted increases in all three components (institutional, industrial, commercial), led by spending on commercial buildings.

In British Columbia, the gain in non-residential construction was mainly the result of higher spending on commercial buildings.

In New Brunswick, non-residential spending in building construction was up 6.6%. The increase was attributable to additional spending on commercial building construction (office and recreational buildings).

Quebec also reported a gain, but it was small (+0.5%), due partly to a strike that affected all construction workers during the final week of May.

The largest decline occurred in Alberta, followed by Saskatchewan. In Alberta, the decrease was mainly the result of lower spending on both institutional and commercial building construction. Despite the decrease in spending, Alberta had the second-highest total spending on non-residential building construction ($2.5 billion), accounting for 20% of total spending for the country. In Saskatchewan, the decrease was primarily the result of lower spending on institutional investment.

Census metropolitan areas

Among the 36 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), 21 saw increased investment in non-residential building construction in the second quarter. Toronto recorded the largest rise, followed by Montréal and Vancouver.

In Toronto, the increase was mainly attributable to an influx in commercial spending, while in Montréal, the increase in spending was mainly the result of an increase in construction of institutional buildings.

The largest declines were reported in Calgary and Edmonton, and in the Ottawa part of the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA. The declines in both Calgary and Edmonton were mainly attributable to commercial and institutional buildings. In Ottawa, the main contributor to the drop was lower spending on construction of commercial buildings.

Industrial component

Investment in industrial projects increased 1.7% to $1.75 billion in the second quarter. At the national level, the increase was attributable to higher investment in the construction of plants for manufacturing and, to a lesser extent, construction of farm buildings and utilities buildings.

Increases were reported in six provinces, with Ontario contributing the most to the overall increase, followed by Alberta.

In Ontario, investment rose 2.9% to $787 million, marking a second straight quarterly gain. Higher spending on plants for manufacturing and on farm buildings were the leading contributors to the gain. The increase in Alberta was mainly the result of higher spending on manufacturing buildings.

In contrast, Quebec posted the largest decline, mainly due to lower spending on maintenance garages and equipment storage buildings.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Commercial, institutional and industrial components
Commercial, institutional and industrial components

Commercial component

Spending on commercial buildings increased by 0.4% to $7.2 billion in the second quarter, led by office building and retail building construction.

Investment in commercial projects rose in six provinces, with Ontario posting the largest gain. The growth in Ontario was mainly the result of increased investment in office and recreational buildings.

Conversely, Alberta recorded the largest declines, followed by Saskatchewan. The decrease in Alberta was attributable to lower spending on office and warehouse buildings. In Saskatchewan, the decrease was due to reduced spending on warehouse and recreational buildings, which more than offset increased spending on shopping centres.

Institutional component

In the institutional component, investment fell 0.7% to $3.4 billion in the second quarter. The national decrease was due to a decline in most institutional building types, which more than offset increased spending on educational buildings.

Declines in investment in institutional projects were recorded in five provinces, with Alberta posting the largest drop.

In Alberta, investment fell 6.9% to $701 million in the second quarter. Lower investment in educational buildings and library facilities were primarily responsible for the decline.

The largest increases in institutional building construction were reported in Quebec and Ontario. In both provinces, the advances were led by increases in spending on educational buildings.

  Note to readers

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

Investments in non-residential building construction exclude engineering construction (such as for highways, sewers, bridges, and oil and gas pipelines). These data are from the Building Permits Survey of municipalities, which collects information on construction intentions.

Work put-in-place patterns are assigned to each type of structure (industrial, commercial and institutional). These work patterns are used to distribute the value of building permits according to project length. Work put-in-place patterns differ according to the value of the construction project; a project worth several million dollars will usually take longer to complete than will a project worth a few hundred thousand dollars.

Additional data from the Capital and Repair Expenditures Survey are used to create this investment series. Investments in non-residential building data are also benchmarked to Statistics Canada's System of National Accounts' non-residential building investment series.

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

Two new CMAs have been added: Belleville, Ontario and Lethbridge, Alberta. They have been excluded from the CMA analysis since there was no data available at this level prior to this release. They will be included in future releases.

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

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or daily quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

Report a problem on this page

Is something not working? Is there information outdated? Can't find what you're looking for?

Please contact us and let us know how we can help you.

Privacy notice

Date modified: