February 2017 – Northern Ontario – Building Permits Update


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Northern Ontario’s ICI industry finished 2016 with dismal permit values in all sectors. Total fourth quarter ICI permit value declined by over half compared to the previous year.  Industrial permit values led the decline, down 70% year-over-year in Q4. Fourth quarter commercial and institutional permit values both fell by more than 40%. Overall, 2016 was a difficult year for Northern Ontario’s ICI industry. Total ICI permit values in 2016 were the lowest in eleven years. An even greater concern is that Northern Ontario’s total annual ICI permit values have now decreased every year since 2012 (see graph).


A few niche sectors have provided reasons to be optimistic for 2017. As previously reported, post-secondary education projects will be a significant source for work in the coming months. Laurentian University, Confederation College, and Canadore College are all undertaking major construction projects. Police station construction will also be a source of work in the coming months. Infrastructure Ontario recently released an RFQ for the construction of nine new Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) stations, five of which will be in Northern Ontario. The RFQ closes in late-March, with an RFP for qualified bidders coming mid-year. CMD Group’s 2017 forecast confirms an increase in education construction starts, and has forecasted that construction starts for hotel projects will also increase in Northern Ontario


The Northern Region includes: Greater Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, and Thunder Bay



Ian Worte
Research Analyst,

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 241
F 416.620.5310