Value of Building Permits Plummeted 17.1% in April

Value of Building Permits April 2020 400

June 1, 2020

The total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities plummeted 17.1% to $6.0 billion in April. The decrease was the largest decline since a similar drop in October 2008 during the financial crisis. When combined with the March decline, the value of building permits has fallen by 28.1% from February levels. 

Declines were reported in eight provinces, with the largest in Quebec (-34.1%) and Ontario (-20.0%). Although most municipalities were still issuing permits in April, Quebec’s decision to shut down non-essential construction activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to it posting its largest month-over-month percentage decline on record.

Record declines for single family permits 

The total value of residential permits was down in nine provinces in April, falling 14.2% to $3.9 billion nationally. 

Using comparable data available back to 2002, permits issued for single family dwellings fell 35.9% to $1.4 billion, a record month-over-month decline and almost double the next largest decrease. Prince Edward Island (-84.3%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-52.5%), Ontario (-50.8%), Manitoba (-37.1%) and Quebec (-29.4%) all recorded their largest month-over-month percentage declines in the current series. 

Multi-family dwellings was the only component to show an increase at the national level in April, up 4.8% to $2.6 billion. Increased building intentions in the census metropolitan areas of Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa led to gains in British Columbia (+66.8%) and Ontario (+13.9%), which more than offset declines in six provinces. The gains in British Columbia returned the value of multi-family permits to more normal levels, following large drops in the previous two months. The decreases in February and March were the result of a large number of permits being pulled forward into January as builders looked to avoid a scheduled fee hike in Metro Vancouver.

Non-residential permits decline 

The value of commercial permits was down 21.5% to $1.2 billion in April with the largest decline reported in Quebec (-56.6%), setting another record month-over-month percentage decrease for the province.

Industrial permits fell 34.7% to $377 million following gains in March, with declines posted in six provinces.

Major projects in the form of schools and nursing homes helped drive gains for institutional permits in some parts of the country. However, growth reported in six provinces failed to outweigh sharp declines in Ontario (-46.2%) and Quebec (-28.2%), which pulled the national total down 10.5% to $533 million.

For more information on housing, please visit the Housing Statistics Portal.

To explore the impact of COVID-19 on the socio-economic landscape, please visit the COVID-19 dashboard.

Source: Statistics Canada, https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/200527/dq200527a-eng.htm

Related Articles


Latest Articles

  • Investment in Single-Family Homes Continues to Rise for April

    Investment in Single-Family Homes Continues to Rise for April

    June 14, 2024 Month over month, investment in building construction increased 4.5% to $20.4 billion in March. The residential sector was up 5.4% to $14.3 billion, while investment in the non-residential sector increased 2.3% to $6.1 billion. On a constant dollar basis (2017=100), investment in building construction increased 4.1% to $12.5 billion in March. Investment in single-family homes continues to rise Investment in… Read More…

  • Record High Levels in British Columbia’s Multi-Unit Residential Construction Intentions for April

    Record High Levels in British Columbia’s Multi-Unit Residential Construction Intentions for April

    June 14, 2024 Month over month, the total value of building permits in Canada significantly increased 20.5% to $12.8 billion in April. Construction intentions in the residential sector increased 21.0% to $8.0 billion and the non-residential sector rose 19.6% to $4.8 billion, with growth observed in all components. British Columbia posted a record high monthly total value of building permits ($3.1 billion),… Read More…

  • ECAO’s Ontario’s Energy Future Sector Analysis Report

    ECAO’s Ontario’s Energy Future Sector Analysis Report

    June 14, 2024 Driven by economy-wide decarbonization efforts in response to the global climate crisis, Ontario’s electricity sector is rapidly evolving to enable the shift from fossil-based energy sources to clean energy sources. At the same time, with electrification of industry, transportation and more, it is abundantly clear that the demand for electricity supply is… Read More…

  • Planned Shift from Gas to Electric Heat Required to Avoid High Costs and Emissions: Report

    Planned Shift from Gas to Electric Heat Required to Avoid High Costs and Emissions: Report

    June 14, 2024 New research published today by the Canadian Climate Institute finds that a system-wide shift from gas to electric heat is the lowest-cost path through the clean energy transition. The report, Heat Exchange: How today’s policy choices will drive or delay Canada’s transition to clean, reliable heat, concludes that provincial government action will be  necessary to protect reliability and… Read More…


Changing Scene

  • Danielle Mayer – 2024 ECAM Award Recipient

    Danielle Mayer – 2024 ECAM Award Recipient

    June 14, 2024 Danielle Mayer’s journey to receiving the 2024 ECAM Award is one of dedication and determination. Danielle’s interest in the electrical trade sparked when she realized its potential as a hands-on career path, prompted by the suggestion from her friends that they needed an electrician among them. Beginning her exploration of the electrical… Read More…

  • CAF-FCA Unveils Trades Talent – An Innovative Speaker Connection Service at 2024 National Apprenticeship Conference

    CAF-FCA Unveils Trades Talent – An Innovative Speaker Connection Service at 2024 National Apprenticeship Conference

    June 14, 2024 The 2024 National Apprenticeship Conference saw an exciting announcement from the Canadian Apprenticeship Forum (CAF-FCA) with the launch of Trades Talent, an innovative online service designed to connect event planners with expert speakers in the skilled trades sector. This ground-breaking platform promises to be a game-changer for those seeking knowledgeable and engaging… Read More…

  • Atkore Announces Environmental Product Declarations for Steel and PVC Conduit Products

    Atkore Announces Environmental Product Declarations for Steel and PVC Conduit Products

    Atkore Inc. announced it has published Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its Galvanized Steel, Stainless Steel, and PVC Conduit & Fittings portfolios. Verified by an independent third party, each EPD contains a product’s life cycle assessment that measures its environmental impact, such as greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, water consumption, waste generation, and other factors…. Read More…

  • ECAO 2024 Douglas J.B. Wright Award

    ECAO 2024 Douglas J.B. Wright Award

    June 14, 2024 Congratulations to Mr. Allan Kellett, Co-Owner of K-Line Group of Companies, on being named the recipient of the ECAO’s 2024 Douglas J.B. Wright Award! The award was presented earlier this month as part of ECAO’s Annual General Meeting. View the LinkedIn post HERE Read More…