February 2017 – Central Ontario – Building Permits Update


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Total ICI Permit values in Central Ontario were up 15% year-over-year in the fourth quarter. Commercial permit values led with a 54% increase. The institutional sector experienced the opposite, declining 54% in Q4. Industrial permit values increased by 16%. Overall, Central Ontario’s ICI industry had a mixed fourth quarter, but looking at 2016 as a whole the numbers are more of a concern. Industrial and institutional permit values in Central Ontario both had their worst years since the recession. The industrial sector’s weak performance mirrors what’s been observed in the GTA. The outlook for Central Ontario is less promising though. CMD Group forecasted an increase in manufacturing starts in the GTA, but in Central Ontario they’ve forecasted a 30% decline.

Central Ontario’s institutional sector struggled in 2016 because the region has lacked the major hospital projects that’s driven the GTA, and the diversity of education work that’s supported Southwestern Ontario. There have been some positive signs from CMD Group’s forecast. They are expecting a 70% increase in education starts in the Central region. Hospital work on the other hand is not expected to see a major increase in CMD Group’s forecast. Infrastructure Ontario recently closed bidding on the Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Wellington County. The estimated value of the project is only $51 million though which pales in comparison to the major hospital projects in the GTA.

Commercial permit values in Central Ontario were strong in 2016. The year’s commercial total was the highest in 3 years. Increased commercial values came from Hamilton/Niagara which were up by over 50% compared to 2015. In Kitchener/Waterloo, commercial permit values in 2016 were essentially unchanged compared to the previous year.


The Central Region includes: Waterloo Region, Guelph, Hamilton, Brantford, Burlington, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Barrie, and Peterborough



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