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Building permits, May 2019

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Released: 2019-07-09

Building permits — Canada

$8.2 billion

May 2019

-13.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$33.4 million

May 2019

-25.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$58.7 million

May 2019

4.5% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$123.9 million

May 2019

4.1% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$116.9 million

May 2019

80.2% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,695.4 million

May 2019

8.1% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$3,181.2 million

May 2019

-3.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$334.3 million

May 2019

34.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$132.0 million

May 2019

-15.5% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,051.7 million

May 2019

5.7% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,454.6 million

May 2019

-49.8% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$30.5 million

May 2019

301.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$6.1 million

May 2019

49.1% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.

$12.4 million

May 2019

148.6% increase

(monthly change)

Following a record $9.5 billion in April, the value of permits issued by Canadian municipalities declined 13.0% to $8.2 billion in May. Increases in six provinces and all three territories were not enough to offset the decrease 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 the residential and non-residential sectors
Value of building permits for the residential and non-residential sectors

The national decrease was largely the result of the value of permits for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia returning to recent levels, following a significant rise the previous month in response to Metro Vancouver's impending increases in development costs introduced in May.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Month-to-month change in the value of residential building permits
Month-to-month change in the value of residential building permits

Residential permits return to previous levels after surge in April

The value of residential permits was down 17.2% to $5.0 billion in May, following a 26.6% increase in April.

Despite the overall decline in the multi-family dwelling component, seven provinces reported increases, with record highs in Prince Edward Island ($34 million) and New Brunswick ($30 million).

Meanwhile, the value of single-family dwelling permits rose 1.8% to $2.3 billion, led by Ontario (+$47 million).

Chart 4  Chart 4: Month-to-month change in the value of non-residential building permits
Month-to-month change in the value of non-residential building permits

Decline in industrial permits offsets increase in institutional component

The value of non-residential permits declined 5.7% to $3.3 billion in May. The decrease followed the issuance of a high value industrial building permit in Ontario the previous month. The value of commercial permits edged down 0.9% to $1.9 billion.

In the institutional component, the value of permits rose 25.7% to $815 million. Higher construction intentions for secondary and elementary schools in British Columbia, as well as for nursing homes in Quebec and Ontario, contributed to the increase.

  Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitate 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 or production 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.


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 seasonally adjusted data and 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 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 June will be released on August 9.


Statistics Canada has a new Housing Market Indicators Dashboard. This web application provides access to key housing market indicators for Canada, by province and by census metropolitan area. These indicators are automatically updated with new information from monthly releases, giving users access to the latest data.

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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