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Building permits, October 2018

Released: 2018-12-10

Building permits — Canada

$8.1 billion

October 2018

-0.2% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$105.5 million

October 2018

0.4% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$46.9 million

October 2018

74.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$122.8 million

October 2018

12.4% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$74.7 million

October 2018

-7.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,532.0 million

October 2018

-14.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$3,326.3 million

October 2018

9.4% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$227.1 million

October 2018

-16.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$140.8 million

October 2018

-5.7% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$952.3 million

October 2018

-4.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,504.9 million

October 2018

3.0% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$13.6 million

October 2018

-30.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$5.1 million

October 2018

46.2% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.

$6.4 million

October 2018

-4.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Canadian municipalities issued $8.1 billion worth of building permits in October, edging down 0.2% from September. The decrease was mainly attributable to lower construction intentions for industrial and institutional 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

Non-residential sector: Lower construction intentions for industrial and institutional buildings

The value of non-residential building permits fell 7.0% in October to $2.9 billion. Eight provinces posted declines, most notably British Columbia.

In the industrial component, the value of building permits fell 29.9% to $439 million, the third consecutive monthly decrease. Declines were reported in nine provinces, with Manitoba the lone province to post an increase.

The value of institutional building permits was down 8.7% in October to $733 million, after posting an increase of 16.7% the previous month. Lower construction intentions for hospitals, post-secondary institutions, and other government buildings were responsible for much of the decrease.

In the commercial component, $1.7 billion worth of building permits were issued in October, up 2.2% from the previous month. The gain was mainly attributable to higher construction intentions for office and retail complexes.

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

Residential sector: Higher construction intentions for multi- and single-family dwellings

In the residential sector, the value of building permits increased 4.2% from September to $5.2 billion. Both multi-family and single-family dwellings posted gains.

The value of permits for multi-family dwellings rose 3.8% to $2.9 billion. Gains in Ontario (+$222 million) and British Columbia (+$115 million) more than offset a decline in construction intentions in Quebec (-$238 million). The overall increase was driven by higher construction intentions for apartment-condominiums.

In the single-family dwelling component, municipalities issued $2.3 billion worth of building permits in October, up 4.6% from September, the first increase in five months.

Municipalities approved the construction of 20,017 new dwellings in October, up 4.1% from the previous month. The increase stemmed from both multi-family dwellings, which rose 4.7% to 14,965 new units, and single-family homes, up 2.2% to 5,052 new units.

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

Provinces and census metropolitan areas: Quebec down following a strong September

The total value of building permits was down in five provinces in October, with Quebec recording the largest decline. However, the value of building permits rose in 22 of 36 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), led by Toronto.

In Quebec, the value of building permits was down 14.8% to $1.5 billion in October, following a record high in September. The decrease was largely the result of lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings, primarily in the CMA of Montréal, where the value of permits fell 39.3% to $314 million.

In contrast, the value of building permits in Ontario was up 9.4% in October to $3.3 billion. Increases in both the multi-family and commercial components contributed to the rise. The value of multi-family dwelling permits in the CMA of Toronto rose 37.5% to $854 million—the second highest level on record. The gain was mainly the result of several high value permits issued for apartment-condominium buildings.

Tornadoes, September 2018

The tornadoes that hit Ottawa and Gatineau on September 21 had a notable effect on the number of demolition permits issued in the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA in October. On an unadjusted basis, the demolition of 70 residential units was approved in the Ottawa part of the CMA, with approximately 20% of these demolitions related to the tornadoes. Meanwhile, the demolition of 84 residential units was approved in the Gatineau part of the CMA in October. Over 70% of these units were in the Mont-Bleu area.

  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 November 2018 will be released on January 10, 2019.

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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