Statistics Canada: Strong Increase in Institutional Permits (August 2022) While Labour Market Cools (September 2022)

In August, permit values in Ontario grew across all ICI sectors, especially for institutional permits. Total ICI permit values increased by 76.4% from July 2022 ($1.28-$2.25 billion) and by 70.2% compared to August 2021 ($1.32-$2.25 billion).

In the commercial sector, permits values increased month-over-month by 28.9% and increased year-over-year by 21.8%. Industrial permit values experienced a monthly increase of 115.2% and a yearly increase of 118.7%. Institutional permits values increased substantially, with a monthly increase of 259.4% and an almost identical yearly increase of 259.1%.

The change in institutional permit values is the largest monthly and yearly percentage increase since December 2019. The cause of the increase in values is likely due to a new school in Hamilton and a new building for the George Brown college in Toronto.

Figure 1: Courtesy of Ontario Construction Secretariat

Employment and labour force however decreased slightly compared to the summer months but remained above the level from May 2022 and earlier. While both construction employment and labour force saw record numbers in July and August, both decreased slightly in September. The labour force decreased in size from a record high of 628.3 thousand to 616.5 thousand. Employment also decreased from 612 thousand to 599.6 thousand. Despite the decrease, labour force and employment numbers were still higher than any point before June 2022. The unemployment rate increased slightly from 2.6% to 2.8% but remained well below the overall Ontario unemployment rate of 5.4%.

YTD permit values across all ICI sectors were higher compared to the same period last year. The largest increase was in the industrial sector, which saw an increase of 64.7%.

For more information, read the Ontario Construction Secretariat bulletin.

To explore data using the Statistics Canada interactive user interface, visit the Building permits: Interactive Dashboard.