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Building permits, July 2018

Released: 2018-09-06

Building permits — Canada

$8.2 billion

July 2018

-0.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$67.0 million

July 2018

-14.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$29.2 million

July 2018

11.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$142.7 million

July 2018

36.0% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$83.3 million

July 2018

-20.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,662.8 million

July 2018

14.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$3,284.6 million

July 2018

-2.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$242.3 million

July 2018

20.6% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$143.1 million

July 2018

31.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,165.6 million

July 2018

-4.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,367.9 million

July 2018

-11.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$14.5 million

July 2018

-30.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$3.4 million

July 2018

-47.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.


July 2018


(monthly change)

Canadian municipalities issued $8.2 billion worth of building permits in July, down 0.1% from June. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions in British Columbia.

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: Lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings

The value of permits for residential buildings edged down 0.3% to $5.3 billion in July. The decline was mainly the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, down 1.1% to $2.9 billion. The decrease in British Columbia (-$185 million) offset gains in seven provinces.

The value of building permits in the single-family component was up 0.6% to $2.4 billion. Four provinces registered increases, led by Ontario and Manitoba.

In July, municipalities approved the construction of 19,824 new dwellings (+1.2%), consisting of 14,660 multi-family units (+3.7%) and 5,164 single units (-5.2%).

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

Non-residential sector: Higher industrial construction intentions drive the increase

The value of non-residential permits edged up 0.2% to $2.9 billion in July, mainly due to higher construction intentions in Quebec. Increases in the industrial component more than offset the declines for commercial and institutional buildings.

In the industrial component, the value of permits rose 16.0% to $726 million, a third consecutive monthly increase. The gain stemmed from higher construction intentions for transportation terminals and communication buildings, specifically a $100 million permit for Radio Canada in Quebec.

The value of commercial permits fell 5.0% to $1.6 billion in July, mainly on lower construction intentions for hotels, warehouses and office buildings. Values were down in four provinces, with the largest declines in Alberta and Quebec.

Within the institutional component, municipalities issued $600 million worth of building permits in July, down 2.0% from June. Of the three provinces that registered decreases in this component, Ontario reported the largest drop. Lower construction intentions for secondary schools mainly contributed to the decline.

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

Provinces and census metropolitan areas: British Columbia registers largest decrease

The total value of building permits was down in five provinces, with British Columbia and Ontario recording the largest decreases. At the same time, the value of building permits rose in 19 of 36 census metropolitan areas (CMA), with Montréal and Ottawa reporting the largest gains.

In British Columbia, the value of building permits fell 11.0% to $1.4 billion. The decrease was mainly the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings in the CMA of Vancouver, following a record high in June.

The value of permits in Ontario fell 2.4% to $3.3 billion in July. This followed three consecutive monthly increases. The value of building permits in the Toronto CMA fell 10.0% to $1.5 billion in July.

In contrast, the value of permits in the CMA of Ottawa rose 53.9% to $416 million, the second highest value on record. Permits for residential construction rose 61.3% compared with June, coinciding with an increase in development charges slated for August 1, 2018.

In Quebec, the value of building permits increased 14.7% to $1.7 billion in July. The industrial component posted the second-highest value on record, driven by a $100 million permit for a communication building in the CMA of Montréal.

  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.


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

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 August will be released on October 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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