Canadian Building Permits Data for December, 2023Q4, and 2023

On Tuesday, Statistics Canada (StatCan) reported that the total value of building permits in Canada declined 14.0% from November to $9.2 billion (CAD) in December. The December value is the lowest monthly total since October 2020. On a constant dollar basis (2017=100), the total value of building permits declined 14.2% to $5.8 billion.


The total value of residential permits fell 17.9% to $5.7 billion in December. StatCan notes that the decline was driven by a significant decline in multi-unit intentions—down 31.1%, or $1.3 billion. This is the largest monthly decline in the history of the series.

Offsetting the declines in multi-unit construction was intentions for single-family dwellings which increased 0.8% to $2.9 billion in December. StatsCan noted that the gains in Alberta—up 15.3%, or $84.4 million—more than offset declines in seven provinces. Alberta’s increase marked the fifth consecutive monthly gain and the largest monthly value since January 2014.


The total value of nonresidential permits declined 7.0% to $3.6 billion in December. StatCan reports that institutional decline in Quebec—down 55.8%, or $313.9 million—was the result of an absence of new major institutional permits (versus two projects estimated over $150 million each in November).

The Quebec decline more than offset total gains in the commercial component—up 4.1%, or 69.1 million—and the industrial component—up $4.7%, or $39.3 million.

2023Q4 Results

In Q4, the total value of building permits was $31.3 billion, down 9.0% from Q3 and down 1.7% when compared to 2022Q4. The total value of building permits in Q4 was the lowest since 2021Q3’s $30.8 billion.

Compared to Q3, building permits in Q4 were lower in both nonresidential building—down 13.3% to $11.6 billion—and residential—down 6.3% to $19.7 billion. The single-family dwelling segment was the only component to post a Q4 gain, rising 1.4% to $8.5 billion.

2023 Review

Year-over-year, the total current-dollar value of building permits fell 3.2% to $132.2 billion in 2023. However, rising material and labor costs inflated nominal building permit valuations. On a constant dollar basis (2017=100), the total annual value of building permits decreased 8.9% from 2022 to $84.2 billion in 2023.

FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.