August 2016 – Northern Ontario – Building Permits Update


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Industrial permit values in Northern Ontario fell by nearly 50% to the lowest Q2 level since 2010. The Northeastern region led the fall, losing more than half its industrial permit value. The Northwestern region’s industrial sector didn’t experience a decline but has instead been stagnating. Q2 was the eleventh consecutive quarter where Northwestern industrial permit values didn’t break $5 million.

Northern Ontario’s commercial sector is the region’s only bright spot. Commercial permit values increased by 38%. This wasn’t enough though to offset the negative impact that the industrial and institutional declines had on the ICI industry as a whole. The institutional and industrial declines contributed to overall ICI permitting falling to its lowest Q2 value since 2003. The Northeastern region led commercial growth, rising by almost half. The Northwestern region had a slight increase. This is typical of the long-term trend in commercial permitting between Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario. In Q2 2011 the Northeastern region accounted for 58% of Northern Ontario’s commercial permitting. The Northeastern region’s share has steadily increased every year and reached 75% in Q2 2016. The construction of several hotels across Northern Ontario appears to be contributing to the sector’s performance.

Institutional permit values also fell by nearly 50%, declining to Northern Ontario’s lowest second quarter since 2003. Institutional permitting in the Northeastern region has been in steady decline for the past 7 years, while the Northwestern region has been experiencing sporadic bursts as projects come and go. There appears to be positive news though on the horizon for Northeastern Ontario’s institutional sector. There are several post-secondary education facilities in the planning stages across the Northeastern region, and in July a $22 million project was awarded by Laurentian University.

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