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Building permits, June 2014

Released: 2014-08-07

Contractors took out building permits worth $8.0 billion in June, up 13.5% from May. The June increase was mainly due to higher construction intentions for institutional and industrial buildings in Quebec and commercial buildings in Alberta.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Total value of permits - Description and data table
Total value of permits

Chart 1: Total value of permits - Description and data table

The value of non-residential building permits rose 32.5% to $3.8 billion in June, a third consecutive monthly gain. Quebec was responsible for most of the growth at the national level. Declines were recorded in six provinces, with Manitoba and Ontario posting the largest decreases. Both provinces reported sharp gains in May.

In the residential sector, the value of permits edged up 0.4% to $4.2 billion, a fourth consecutive monthly increase. The gains observed in four provinces were mostly offset by declines in the other provinces. Ontario posted the largest advance, followed by Nova Scotia and Quebec. British Columbia had the largest decrease.

Non-residential sector: Increases in the institutional and industrial components

The value of building permits in the institutional component more than doubled to $1.3 billion in June. Construction intentions for institutional buildings were up in four provinces. Quebec, which had the largest advance, posted a sharp increase in construction intentions for medical facilities.

In the industrial component, construction intentions rose 63.9% to $744 million, up for a third consecutive month. The increase was mainly attributable to higher construction intentions for information technology buildings in Quebec and utilities buildings in Ontario.

Canadian municipalities issued $1.8 billion worth of commercial building permits in June, 2.1% less than in May. The decline was a result of lower construction intentions in a variety of commercial buildings, including hotels and restaurants, warehouses and retail complexes. Declines were observed in seven provinces, with Ontario and Manitoba posting the largest decreases.

In contrast, Alberta, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador reported gains.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Residential and non-residential sectors - Description and data table
Residential and non-residential sectors

Chart 2: Residential and non-residential sectors - Description and data table

Residential sector: Higher intentions for single-family dwellings

Municipalities issued $2.4 billion worth of building permits for single-family dwellings in June, up 5.5% from May. It was the third consecutive monthly advance. Increases were reported in six provinces, led by Alberta, with Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia following.

Construction intentions for multi-family units fell 6.0% to $1.7 billion in June. This decline came in the wake of three straight monthly increases and was mainly due to lower construction intentions in Western Canada. Conversely, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Quebec posted gains.

At the national level, municipalities approved the construction of 16,770 new dwellings in June, down 4.6% from May. The decrease was mainly due to a 10.7% decline in multi-family units to 10,202. The number of single-family dwellings rose 6.9% to 6,568 units.

Provinces: Quebec posts the largest gain

The total value of permits was up in five provinces in June, led by Quebec, with Alberta a distant second.

Quebec reported the largest increase by far, with substantial advances in construction intentions for institutional buildings, industrial buildings and, to a lesser extent, multi-family dwellings.

Alberta's growth was largely due to higher construction intentions for commercial buildings and single-family dwellings.

The largest decline occurred in Manitoba, with commercial buildings accounting for most of the decrease.

Higher construction intentions in most census metropolitan areas

In June, the value of permits was up in 20 of the 34 census metropolitan areas.

Montréal reported the largest gain in June, followed far behind by Calgary. The value of permits issued in Montréal rose primarily because of higher construction intentions for institutional and industrial buildings, while in Calgary, the increase was due to construction permits for commercial buildings.

The largest decreases were reported in Winnipeg, followed by Toronto and Vancouver. The declines in Winnipeg and Toronto resulted from lower construction intentions for commercial buildings. In Vancouver, the decrease was largely attributable to lower construction intentions for multi-family dwellings.

  Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data, which facilitates comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The Building Permits Survey covers 2,400 municipalities representing 95% of the 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 shown in this release excludes engineering projects (for example, waterworks, sewers or culverts) and land.

For the purpose of this release, the census metropolitan area of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario/Quebec) is divided into two areas: Gatineau part and Ottawa part.


Data for the current reference month are subject to revision based on late responses. Data for the previous month have been revised.

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.

The June 2014 issue of Building Permits (Catalogue number64-001-X) will soon be available.

Building permits data for July will be released on September 8.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Mahamat Hamit-Haggar (613-951-0862;, Investment, Science and Technology Division.

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