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Investment in non-residential building construction, fourth quarter 2014

Released: 2015-01-16

Investment in non-residential building construction reached $12.9 billion in the fourth quarter, up 0.3% from the previous quarter. Higher spending in the institutional and industrial components led to a third consecutive quarterly increase.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Investment in non-residential building construction - Description and data table
Investment in non-residential building construction

Chart 1: Investment in non-residential building construction - Description and data table

Overall, total investment increased in five provinces in the fourth quarter, with the largest gain in Alberta, followed closely by Manitoba. In Alberta, the increase was spread across the institutional and industrial components, while in Manitoba, the gain was in the commercial and institutional components.

Quebec recorded the most significant decrease as a result of lower investment in the commercial and industrial components.

Census metropolitan areas

Investment rose in 14 of 34 census metropolitan areas. The largest increases were in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg. In Edmonton and Toronto, investment increased in all three components, while the gain in Winnipeg was attributable to commercial and institutional spending.

Conversely, the largest decreases occurred in Saskatoon and Ottawa. In Saskatoon, investment declined for a third consecutive quarter, as spending fell across all three components. In Ottawa, the decline was mostly attributable to lower investment in the commercial components.

Institutional component

Investment in institutional projects rose by 1.4% to $3.5 billion in the fourth quarter, the third straight quarterly increase in this component nationally. Institutional investment was up in five provinces.

The biggest increase was in British Columbia, followed by Alberta. In British Columbia, investment was up 7.4% to $384 million. This was mainly the result of higher spending in the construction of health care facilities. In Alberta, investment rose 6.1% to $441 million, the second consecutive quarter of growth for the province. This increase was mainly a result of higher spending in all categories of institutional buildings.

The most significant decrease occurred in New Brunswick, where investment was down 18.9% to $74 million. This was the third straight quarterly decline and reflected the near completion of major institutional projects in the province.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Commercial, institutional and industrial components - Description and data table
Commercial, institutional and industrial components

Chart 2: Commercial, institutional and industrial components - Description and data table

Industrial component

Investment in industrial projects was up 1.1% to $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter. This was the second consecutive quarterly increase. Gains in this component were mainly the result of the construction of manufacturing plants and primary industry buildings in Ontario as well as maintenance buildings in Alberta.

Quebec posted the largest decline in the fourth quarter, with investment falling 8.0% to $270 million, mainly because of lower construction of manufacturing plants.

Commercial component

Investment in commercial building construction amounted to $7.8 billion in the fourth quarter, down 0.4% from the previous quarter. This decline followed two consecutive quarterly increases and was attributable to lower spending on commercial building construction in seven provinces.

The sharpest declines occurred in Quebec and Ontario. In Quebec, commercial investment was down 2.3% to $1.3 billion, the fourth straight quarterly drop in commercial investment in this province. The decrease was primarily due to lower investment in the construction of recreational, office and retail and wholesale buildings. In Ontario, investment was down 0.8% to $3.0 billion, mainly as a result of lower spending on recreational, retail and wholesale and transportation facilities.

The largest increase was in Manitoba, where investment rose 11.9% to $268 million. Investment was up for most types of commercial buildings.

  Note to readers

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

Investments in non-residential building construction exclude engineering construction (such as for highways, sewers, bridges and oil and gas pipelines). This series is based on the Building Permits Survey of municipalities, which collects information on construction intentions.

Work put-in-place patterns are assigned to each type of structure (industrial, commercial and institutional). These work patterns are used to distribute the value of building permits according to project length. Work put-in-place patterns differ according to the value of the construction project; a project worth several million dollars will usually take longer to complete than will a project of a few hundred thousand dollars.

Additional data from the Capital and Repair Expenditures Survey are used to create this investment series. Investments in non-residential building data are also benchmarked to Statistics Canada's System of National Accounts' non-residential building investment series.

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

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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