According to Statistics Canada, the total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities decreased 13.2 percent to $7.4 billion in March, with declines reported in seven provinces and two territories. The $1.1 billion national decrease was the largest since August 2014. This reflected notable drops in Ontario (-12.9 percent), Quebec (-18.1 percent) and British Columbia (-19.4 percent), which coincided with efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The total value of residential permits decreased 13.1 percent to $4.6 billion in March. The value of permits issued for single-family dwellings fell 15.3 percent to $2.2 billion, with the largest percentage declines observed in Prince Edward Island (-31.8 percent) and Quebec (-27.0 percent). The province of Quebec shut down all non-essential business activities, such as construction, on March 24. Conversely, the only gains posted nationally in March were in New Brunswick (+2.3 percent) and the Northwest Territories (+3.0 percent).
The value of permits issued for multi-family dwellings was down 11.1 percent to $2.5 billion, with the largest declines seen in Ontario (-13.0 percent to $1.1 billion) and British Columbia (-24.4 percent to $389 million).
Seven provinces reported declines in the value of commercial permits issued, bringing the national total down 19.7 percent to $1.6 billion. The largest decline in commercial permits was in Quebec (-36.6 percent), which recorded its third consecutive monthly decrease.
The value of institutional permits (-15.7 percent to $602.2 million) was down in eight provinces, with Quebec (-37.0 percent) posting the largest decline.
Industrial permits (+14.9 percent to $583 million) were the only component to show an increase at the national level in March. This was driven by strong gains in Manitoba (+185.9 percent), reflecting several large permits issued in the Winnipeg metropolitan area.