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Statistics Canada: Building Permits, March 2024

General News
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Month over month, the total value of building permits in Canada decreased 11.7% to $10.5 billion in March. Construction intentions in the non-residential component declined 16.7% to $4.0 billion, while the residential sector decreased by 8.3% to $6.5 billion. Declines were observed in all components except for the commercial component.

STAT Can - Building Permits

On a constant dollar basis (2017=100), the total value of building permits fell 11.6% in March, following two consecutive months of increases.

Monthly declines in industrial construction intentions push down the non-residential sector

Non-residential construction intentions decreased 16.7% to $4.0 billion in March, with reductions in the industrial (-46.1%; -$629.8 million) and institutional (-22.2%; -$293.1 million) components. The large decline in the industrial component was due to the lack of major industrial permits issued in March compared with February, which was the second-highest monthly level recorded.

The commercial component tempered the declines in the non-residential sector by growing 5.8% to $2.2 billion in March.

Ontario drives monthly downturn in residential sector

The value of residential building permits decreased 8.3% to $6.5 billion in March. Ontario (-13.7%; -$377.4 million) led the decline in value for both single-family and multi-family dwelling permits. Despite the overall decline, the residential sector grew in Quebec (+7.3%; +$90.1 million), Prince Edward Island (+70.4%; +$14.3 million), Saskatchewan (+10.3%; +$6.3 million), Newfoundland and Labrador (+7.7%; +$2.2 million) and Manitoba (+0.9%; +$1.4 million).

Across Canada, 16,800 new multi-unit dwellings and 4,200 new single-family homes were authorized in March. From April 2023 to March 2024, a total of 260,200 new units were authorized.

First quarter of 2024 rebounding, driven by growth in construction intentions in the commercial component

The total value of building permits in the first quarter of 2024 was $33.4 billion, a 3.7% increase from the previous quarter ($32.2 billion). This represents a partial rebound from the fourth quarter of 2023, which was the lowest quarterly total value since the third quarter of 2021 ($30.5 billion). The growth was driven by British Columbia (+20.1%; +$988.4 million), which posted significant gains in the commercial and industrial non-residential components, and in the multi-unit residential component. Despite quarterly gains, construction intentions in the first quarter of 2024 remained lower than the average quarterly levels of the previous two years.

Construction intentions in the non-residential sector increased 6.9% to $13.0 billion in the first quarter, led by the commercial component (+22.3% to $6.6 billion), which posted the highest level of the previous four quarters. Growth was driven by permits for office buildings. Overall, nine provinces and territories reported increases in commercial construction intentions, led by Ontario (+34.8%; +$710.1 million), Quebec (+31.2%; +$296.6 million) and British Columbia (+32.4%; +$269.3 million).

The value of residential building permits edged up 1.8% in the first quarter. Growth in the multi-unit component (+7.9%; +$919.5 million) was partially offset by declines in the single-family homes component (-6.6%; -$565.6 million).

To explore data using an interactive user interface, visit the Building permits: Interactive Dashboard.

For more information on construction, please visit the Construction statistics portal.

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

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Note to readers

Unless otherwise stated, this release presents seasonally adjusted data with current dollar values, which facilitate month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter comparisons by removing the effects of seasonal variations. For information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

Building components

  • Single-family dwellings: Residential buildings containing only one dwelling unit (e.g., single-detached house, bungalow, linked home [linked at the foundation]).
  • Multi-family dwellings: Residential buildings containing multiple dwelling units (e.g., 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, including office buildings.
  • 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, and buildings used for religious services.


Data are subject to revisions based on late responses, methodological changes and classification updates. Unadjusted data have been revised back to January 2023. Seasonally adjusted data have been revised back to January 2020.

For information on trend-cycle data, see the page Trend-cycle estimates – Frequently asked questions.

Next release

Data on building permits for April will be released on June 11.

Source: Statistics Canada