Apr 10, 2023: Employment (Mar 2023); Permits (Feb 2023)

April 10, 2023

Summary: Employment increased modestly and was accompanied by a stronger increase in the labour force. This resulted in a 2.2% increase in the unemployment rate. This was a relatively large increase and larger than the unemployment rate reported for March 2020-2022. Total ICI building permit value remained almost unchanged with only a 0.1% increase, led by gains in industrial permit value.

From February to March, employment increased from 567.1 thousand to 572.3 thousand, while the labour force grew by an even larger amount from 602.4 thousand to 622.7 thousand. This resulted in a substantial increase in the unemployment rate.

Unemployment in Ontario construction rose to 8.1% in March, sitting well above the overall Ontario unemployment rate of 5.4%. This is the highest it’s been since January 2021 (10.1%), and similar to the pre-pandemic March 2019 unemployment rate of 8.8%. When looking at historic data outside of the pandemic era, the unemployment rate in construction tends to be highest from January-March. Overall, these developments suggest both a seasonal trend and a return to normal pre-pandemic levels.

Total ICI permit value was practically unchanged with only a 0.1% increase from January to February. Industrial permit value increased the most, at 98.3% ($304.4 – $603.3 million). The institutional sector experienced a small 1.5% decrease ($269.5 – $265.3 million). Commercial building permit value experienced a contraction of 35.2% (834.1 – $540.7 million).



Ali Ahmad
Research Analyst

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