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Building permits, November 2020

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Released: 2020-12-24

Building permits — Canada

$9.4 billion

November 2020

12.9% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.L.

$91.8 million

November 2020

159.8% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — P.E.I.

$36.8 million

November 2020

-54.6% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.S.

$152.9 million

November 2020

-7.7% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.B.

$118.1 million

November 2020

-2.4% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Que.

$1,774.9 million

November 2020

4.6% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Ont.

$4,365.4 million

November 2020

18.1% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Man.

$263.9 million

November 2020

28.9% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Sask.

$117.0 million

November 2020

0.5% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Alta.

$1,020.5 million

November 2020

7.5% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — B.C.

$1,473.4 million

November 2020

17.4% increase

(monthly change)

Building permits — Y.T.

$4.3 million

November 2020

-63.1% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — N.W.T.

$5.5 million

November 2020

-65.3% decrease

(monthly change)

Building permits — Nvt.


November 2020


(monthly change)

The total value of building permits rose 12.9% to $9.4 billion in November, the third highest value on record—with the highest value having been reached in April 2019. Much of this growth was led by large permits for multi-family dwellings in British Columbia and Ontario, and an office building in the city of Toronto.

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, November 2020
Building permits, November 2020

Residential sector continues to show strength with record high

The value of residential permits rose to new heights in November, increasing 10.0% to $6.4 billion and breaking the previous record set in September 2020. Every province posted gains in this sector, except for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, which reported slight declines.

British Columbia led the way with a 27.8% increase, while Ontario has shown strength in each of the last four months, at or near record levels for the province.

Multi-family dwellings rose 14.8% to $3.5 billion. The majority of the growth came from British Columbia (+41.3%), specifically municipalities in Vancouver Island and in the census metropolitan area of Vancouver. A $376 million permit issued for the Sugar Wharf Condominiums in the city of Toronto contributed to the record high reported in Ontario ($1.6 billion).

Single-family permits increased 4.4% to $2.8 billion in November, continuing the strong upward trend observed over the past six months, with values well above pre-COVID levels since August 2020. Quebec (+12.7%) recorded the largest gain, while Nova Scotia (-8.5%) was the only province to post a decline.

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

Large project in Toronto lifts the non-residential sector out of the red

Non-residential permits rose by almost one-fifth (+19.5%) to $3.0 billion in November, mainly due to a $507 million building permit for the new Cadillac Fairview office building in downtown Toronto. Excluding this permit, the non-residential sector would have shown a slight decline nationally.

The value of commercial permits rose by almost one-third (+31.2%) to $1.6 billion, based on the strength of the Cadillac Fairview office building. Consequently, Ontario (+94.0%) reached its second highest level on record.

The total value of institutional permits rose by nearly one-quarter (+23.2%) to $900 million in November, with gains in seven provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest increase, mainly due to a $57 million permit for continued repairs to Western Health's long-term palliative care home in Corner Brook. British Columbia (+44.2%) had the second highest gain as a result of a permit issued for a new secondary school in the city of Burnaby, as well as two permits issued for new nursing homes in Vancouver and Victoria.

Industrial permits fell for the fifth time in six months, declining 9.3% to $537 million in November. Five provinces posted a decrease in this component, with Ontario (-11.0%) and British Columbia (-44.1%) registering the most significant drops.

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.

Statistics Canada has a 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 updated automatically with new information from monthly releases, giving users access to the latest data.

  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.

Next release

Data on building permits for December 2020 will be released on January 28, 2021.

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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