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Building permits, April 2018

Released: 2018-06-06

Building permits — Canada

$7.8 billion

April 2018

-4.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$53.0 million

April 2018

44.8% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$26.8 million

April 2018

37.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$120.9 million

April 2018

19.6% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$80.7 million

April 2018

-4.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,748.3 million

April 2018

-1.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$2,875.5 million

April 2018

-0.3% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$266.2 million

April 2018

10.4% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$181.1 million

April 2018

15.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,204.6 million

April 2018

-4.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,239.7 million

April 2018

-22.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$2.4 million

April 2018

-68.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$1.6 million

April 2018

-81.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.


April 2018


(monthly change)

Municipalities issued $7.8 billion worth of building permits in April, down 4.6% from March. Declines were reported in every component except commercial buildings.

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: Multi-family dwellings lead the decline

In the residential sector, the value of permits issued by municipalities fell 4.3% to $5.1 billion in April. Five provinces posted declines led by British Columbia.

In the multi-family dwelling component, municipalities issued $2.7 billion worth of building permits in April, down 5.2% from March. Four provinces contributed to the drop, with British Columbia and Alberta recording the largest decreases.

The value of single-family permits fell 3.3% to $2.3 billion in April, a fourth consecutive monthly decline. Eight provinces registered declines, led by Ontario and British Columbia. Conversely, Alberta recorded the largest gain, up $46 million from March.

Municipalities approved the construction of 19,372 new dwellings in April, up 3.6% from the previous month. The rise was mainly attributable to multi-family dwellings, up 5.0% to 14,189 new units. Single-family dwellings edged down 0.2% to 5,183 new units.

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

Non-residential sector: Industrial buildings post the largest decrease

The value of non-residential building permits fell 5.2% to $2.8 billion in April, following a 1.7% increase in March. The value of non-residential building permits declined in four provinces, led by British Columbia and Ontario. Meanwhile, three of the four Atlantic provinces reported higher building permit values.

The value of industrial permits fell 22.6% in April to $510 million. The decline stemmed from lower construction intentions for agricultural buildings, utilities buildings and transportation terminals. Six provinces posted decreases, with Ontario accounting for approximately two-thirds of the decline.

In the institutional component, the value of building permits was down 4.9% to $556 million in April, a third consecutive monthly decline. Four provinces posted decreases, led by Ontario. In contrast, Quebec and Alberta recorded the largest increases.

The value of commercial building permits rose 1.7% in April to $1.7 billion, the third increase in four months. Quebec, Saskatchewan and Ontario led the seven provinces that reported gains.

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

Provinces: Largest decline in British Columbia

The total value of building permits was down in five provinces in April, with British Columbia reporting the largest decline.

The value of permits in British Columbia decreased 22.6% in April to $1.2 billion. This drop followed a record high in March ($1.6 billion), which in part reflected several permits valued at over $100 million each. Lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and, to a lesser extent, commercial buildings contributed to the decline.

In contrast, Manitoba and Saskatchewan posted gains. In Manitoba, the value of building permits increased 10.4% to $266 million in April, stemming from higher construction intentions for multi-family dwellings. The value of building permits in Saskatchewan was up 15.3%, following a 22.2% gain in March. An increase in the value of commercial permits was the largest contributor to the rise.

Census metropolitan areas: Vancouver posts the largest decrease

In April, the total value of building permits was down in 14 of the 36 census metropolitan areas. Vancouver recorded the largest decline in value, followed by Oshawa and Toronto.

The value of building permits in Vancouver fell 27.3% in April to $756 million, following a 17.7% increase the previous month. The decline was the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings and commercial structures.

The value of building permits in Oshawa fell 73.6% to $41 million in April. The drop followed a rise in the number of permits issued for new single-family homes in March (220 permits issued). This is a common occurrence when builders apply for multiple permits for housing developments.

In Toronto, the value of permits declined 8.3% to $1.2 billion in April, the lowest level since February 2015. Lower construction intentions for institutional buildings and, to a lesser extent, industrial buildings were responsible for the drop.

In contrast, the value of permits in Montréal rose to $1.1 billion in April. This was the fourth increase in five months. Higher construction intentions in every component except multi-family dwellings contributed to the growth.

  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.


Data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Seasonally adjusted data for the previous two months have been revised. Non-seasonally adjusted data have been revised for the previous month only.

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 on building permits for May will be released on July 10.

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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