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Fri June 18 2021

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Canada’s spending on building construction grows

14 May New monthly figures from Statistics Canada show a 5.9% rise in building construction, led by the residential sector.

Total investment in building construction increased to CA$18.6bn (£10.9bn) in March.

Residential investment continued to set records with an 11th consecutive monthly increase, up 7.6% to CA$14.0bn in March.

Investment in single units jumped 10.7% to CA$7.8bn. Quebec led the way with an increase of 30.4%, bringing investment in single homes to CA$1.9bn for the province. Investment in Ontario was up 9.8% to CA$3.3bn, driven by renovations to single family homes in the census metropolitan area of Toronto.

Growth in multi-unit construction continued, up 3.9% to CA$6.2bn. Gains in Quebec and Ontario led the overall increase in this sector, as six provinces reported declines. Both new construction and renovations of condominiums and apartments in the cities of Toronto and Montréal accounted for most of the growth.

Non-residential investment increased slightly, rising 1.1% to CA$4.6bn in March. All components posted slight increases. Despite this gain, the commercial and industrial investment components were below pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels.

Institutional construction investment in projects including schools was up 2.2% to CA$1.2bn. Multiple high-value projects in Montréal contributed to a 2.6% increase in Quebec, where investment totalled CA$315m in March. Investments in the province included a new elementary school in Laval and renovations to a secondary school in Montréal. British Columbia recorded another strong month in March, with the continued construction of new schools in Burnaby, North Vancouver and Vancouver.

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Commercial building construction rose 0.8% to CA$2.6bn. Six provinces recorded slight gains, led by Ontario and Alberta. Large office building renovation projects in Edmonton and Calgary contributed to the 1.7% gain in Alberta in this sector.

The total value of investment in building construction rose 9.3% to CA$53.1bn in the first quarter, stemming from continued strength in the residential sector (+12.4%). Investment for residential buildings reached CA$39.5bn, largely because of increased spending on single units in Ontario (+21.8%) and Quebec (+24.9%).

Non-residential investment rose 1.1% to CA$13.6bn in the first quarter, following a 6.0% decline in the previous quarter.

Institutional construction advanced 3.0% in the first quarter, driven by strength in British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, which recorded their highest levels for this component since the start of the series in 2010. Nova Scotia jumped 55.0%, reporting the highest quarterly value since the third quarter of 2014.

Investment in commercial construction advanced slightly compared with the fourth quarter of 2020, with the gain largely due to strength in Ontario. However, investment in this component was below pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels, down 13.8% compared with the first quarter of 2020.

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