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Building permits, July 2020

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Released: 2020-08-31

Building permits — Canada

$7.8 billion

July 2020

-3.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$54.2 million

July 2020

-19.0% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$63.7 million

July 2020

66.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$126.3 million

July 2020

10.6% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$98.1 million

July 2020

10.8% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,466.2 million

July 2020

-15.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$3,457.7 million

July 2020

9.8% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$263.5 million

July 2020

7.2% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$100.5 million

July 2020

9.9% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$880.8 million

July 2020

33.3% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,198.5 million

July 2020

-34.2% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$48.2 million

July 2020

328.5% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$4.4 million

July 2020

20.5% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.


July 2020


(monthly change)

The total value of building permits fell 3.0% to $7.8 billion in July, entirely as a result of declines in British Columbia (-34.2% to $1.2 billion), Quebec (-15.1% to $1.5 billion) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-19.0% to $54 million). The value of permits rose in every other province and territory—led by a $474 million commercial permit issued in the city of Ottawa for the construction of the 2.7 million-square-foot Project Python, part of which will house the city's second Amazon distribution centre.

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

Infographic 1  Thumbnail for Infographic 1: Building permits, July 2020
Building permits, July 2020

Permits for multi-family dwellings down sharply in British Columbia and Quebec

The total value of residential permits decreased by 6.2% to $5.1 billion in July, largely because of the decline in British Columbia (-39.4%).

Following a 31.1% increase in June, the value of permits issued for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia fell by 47.8% to $542 million in July, its lowest level since the onset of the pandemic in March. In Quebec, multi-family permits declined 16.2% to $581 million, following a 13.6% increase in June.

The value of permits issued for single-family homes increased by 3.9% to $2.2 billion in July, driven by gains in Alberta (+12.6%) and Quebec (+6.3%).

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

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

Strong gains in commercial permits offset losses in industrial and institutional permits

The total value of non-residential permits rose 3.3% to $2.7 billion in July, despite declines in industrial and institutional permits.

Commercial permits increased by 29.9% to $1.6 billion in July, mainly due to the $474 million permit issued in the city of Ottawa.

The value of industrial permits declined for the second straight month, falling 15.7% to $462 million in July. The decrease was largely attributable to Quebec, down 37.1% to $170 million.

Following a 43.4% gain in June, the value of institutional permits fell 24.2% to $628 million in July. Ontario (-45.2%) and British Columbia (-50.2%) were behind most of the drop.

To explore the impact of COVID-19 on the socioeconomic landscape, please visit the Canadian Economic Dashboard and COVID-19.

For more information on housing, please visit the Housing statistics portal.

  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 permit 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 and 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 house).

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

Commercial buildings: Buildings used in the 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 two months have been revised. Seasonally adjusted data for the previous three months have also been revised.

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 could 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.

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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