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Building permits, February 2018

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Released: 2018-04-10

Building permits — Canada

$8.2 billion

February 2018

-2.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$53.7 million

February 2018

-34.2% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$27.7 million

February 2018

7.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$102.1 million

February 2018

0.2% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$72.3 million

February 2018

-7.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,443.2 million

February 2018

-9.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$3,318.0 million

February 2018

-3.2% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$273.0 million

February 2018

15.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$130.4 million

February 2018

-30.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,275.6 million

February 2018

14.9% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,462.1 million

February 2018

-5.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$2.9 million

February 2018

1.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$3.9 million

February 2018

5.2% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.

$2.3 million

February 2018


(monthly change)

Canadian municipalities issued $8.2 billion in building permits in February (-2.6%), following a 5.2% gain in January. Single-family homes as well as the commercial and institutional components saw lower levels of construction intentions in February.

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

Chart 2  Chart 2: Value of building permits for residential and non-residential sectors
Value of building permits for residential and non-residential sectors

Residential sector: The value of permits for single-family dwellings declines

The value of permits for single-family dwellings decreased 1.6% (-$41.3 million) in February, largely due to Ontario where intentions fell 6.9% (-$84.2 million) compared with January. The census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Toronto (-13.6% or -$67.1 million) and Oshawa (-64.7% or -$65.7 million) posted the largest declines.

Nationally, the value of multi-family dwellings rose 1.0%. Six provinces posted increases in February, led by Alberta. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings in Alberta rose 46.9% (+$108.6 million), nearly offsetting the 19.0% (-$109.3 million) decline in Quebec. Despite a 4.2% decline in the province of British Columbia, the value of multi-family dwelling permits in the CMA of Vancouver rose 4.2% to $548.6 million. Construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in Vancouver remained strong, posting a value above $500 million for the third consecutive month.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Month-to-month change in value of residential building permits, February 2018
Month-to-month change in value of residential building permits, February 2018

Non-residential sector: Declines in commercial and institutional components

Municipalities issued $2.9 billion worth of building permits for non-residential structures in February, down 6.6% from January. The decline in the value of permits for the commercial and institutional components more than offset the increase in the industrial component.

The commercial component fell 8.7% to $1.5 billion in February, following an 8.3% increase in January. Eight provinces posted declines. British Columbia reported the largest decrease (-20.2%) following a strong January.

Following a 19.2% gain in January, the institutional component decreased 9.7% to $754.3 million in February, primarily stemming from lower construction intentions in Quebec, specifically in the CMA of Montréal. Leading up to this decline, multiple permits for educational structures pushed the January value for the CMA of Montréal to $158.6 million, the highest value since August 2016.

The value of building permits issued for industrial structures increased 4.8% to $575.0 million in February, following a 19.5% decline in January. Quebec posted the largest increase, followed distantly by Newfoundland and Labrador.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Month-to-month change in value of non-residential building permits, February 2018
Month-to-month change in value of non-residential building permits, February 2018

Provinces: Intentions down in Quebec and Ontario following gains in January

The total value of building permits decreased in six provinces in February. The largest declines were in Quebec and Ontario, while Alberta reported the largest increase followed by Manitoba.

The value of building permits declined in Quebec in February following two monthly increases. Every component except the industrial component and single-family dwellings declined. The value of permits for multi-family dwellings posted the largest decline (-$109.3 million), stemming mainly from apartment building intentions for the CMA of Montréal.

The value of building permits declined 3.2% in Ontario to $3.3 billion in February, following a strong January (+12.1%). Every component was down except the industrial component and multi-family dwellings. The value of permits for single-family dwellings posted the largest decline (-$84.2 million or -6.9%).

Alberta reported an increase in every building component in February except for commercial and industrial structures. The residential sector rose by 20.5% to $838.9 million in February, primarily a result of higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

  Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates month-to-month 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 (such as waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land.

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

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

Building components

Single-family dwellings: Residential buildings containing only one dwelling unit (for example, single-detached house, bungalow, linked home (linked at the foundation)).

Multi-family dwellings: Residential buildings containing multiple dwelling units (for example, apartment, apartment condominium, row house, semi-detached).

Industrial buildings: Buildings used in the transformation of goods or related to transportation and communication.

Commercial buildings: Buildings used in trade or distribution of goods and services.

Institutional and government buildings: Buildings used to house public and semi-public services such as those related to health and welfare, education, or public administration, as well as buildings used for religious services.


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 March on building permits will be released on May 9.

Contact information

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

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