June 3, 2021: Building Permits (Apr 2021)

June 3, 2021

Yesterday, Statistics Canada released its April building permit statistics. Ontario’s January-April ICI permit value total reached $5.27 billion, a higher level than any previous year. In the January-April periods of both 2019 and 2020, ICI permit values amounted to about $5 billion. So far in 2021 the ICI sector’s growth has been driven by substantial increases in institutional and industrial permit values. Commercial permit values, on the other hand, were down by 6.3% in January-April compared to the same period in 2021. Institutional permit values were up by 30% compared to the first four months of last year, and industrial permit values have increased by 21.6%. While overall in 2021, industrial permitting in Ontario is up compared to last year, permit values fell significantly in April. Industrial permit values amounted to just over $205 million in April, down from $323 million in March. This was the lowest monthly permit total in the industrial sector since July.

It is important to remember that April 2020 was when building permit values were first impacted by pandemic disruptions. It is helpful given the circumstances to also look at 2021 numbers compared to 2019. Commercial and institutional permit values were both up compared to January-April 2019 (+11.7% and +23.4%, respectively), while industrial permit values were down in 2021 by 20.4%.

Among Ontario’s sixteen metro areas, four (Barrie, Hamilton, Kingston and Toronto) have seen increases in ICI permit values over both 2019 and 2020. Barrie’s January-April ICI permit values were about double the totals of the same period in both 2019 and 2020, while Kingston’s are also up dramatically. Hamilton’s ICI permit values increased considerably over the previous two years, driven in part by a new Amazon warehouse facility. Toronto’s January-April ICI permit values were up by 2.4% compared to the same period in 2020, and up by 10.7% over 2019.

Six metro areas (Belleville, Brantford, Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, London, Peterborough and Thunder Bay) saw permit values increase in the January-April period relative to 2020, but decline relative to 2019. In Greater Sudbury, Oshawa and Ottawa, ICI permit values were down in January-April this year over 2020, but up compared to 2019. Guelph, St. Catharines-Niagara and Windsor are the only metro areas where January-April 2021 ICI permits were lower than both of the previous years.



Katherine Jacobs
Director of Research

Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS)
180 Attwell Drive, Suite 360, Toronto, ON M9W 6A9
P 416.620.5210 ext. 222
F 416.620.5310