According to Statistics Canada, the total value of building permits rose 1.7 percent to $8.1 billion in August, driven by an increase in the residential sector in Ontario and Quebec.
Permits issued for single family homes rose 9.9 percent to $2.5 billion in August, continuing the upward trend observed since May. Eight provinces reported increases in this component, with Ontario accounting for more than half of the national gain, mostly due to permits issued in the census metropolitan areas of Toronto (+12.7 percent), Oshawa (+94.2 percent) and Brantford (+257.4 percent).
The total value of non-residential permits fell 8.6 percent to $2.5 billion in August, largely due to permits issued in Ontario (-15.7 percent). Only Quebec (+9.9 percent), Prince Edward Island (+82.2 percent) and Nova Scotia (+16.7 percent) posted increases in this sector.
Commercial permits fell by 14.7 percent to $1.4 billion in August, following a notable gain in July reflecting the half-billion-dollar permit for Project Python in Ottawa. Overall, the total value of permits for commercial buildings was lower for January to August of 2020 when compared with the same period in 2019. In particular, the unadjusted value of permits issued for office building renovations fell 14.1 percent. This reflects changing priorities during the pandemic as many offices have closed or reduced on-site staff while more employees work from home.
Institutional permits declined for a second month, falling 5.8 percent to $603 million. Ontario (-27.9 percent) recorded the most significant drop in the value of permits issued of all the provinces, more than offsetting gains in Quebec (+30.3 percent).
Following two months of decline, the total value of industrial permits increased in August, up 7.5 percent to $528 million. Permits issued in Ontario (+41.4 percent) and British Columbia (+61.5 percent) accounted for most of the gains.