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Non-residential building activity shows big variations across Canada

Statistics Canada has released its figures for investment in non-residential building construction for the first quarter of 2014.


Statistics Canada has released its figures for investment in non-residential building construction for the first quarter of 2014.

The figures, based on municipal building permits, cover industrial, commercial and institutional buildings by province and city across Canada. However, they do not reflect engineering construction for infrastructure such as highways, sewers and oil and gas pipelines.

Comparing the investment for the first quarter of this year with the first quarter of 2013, and for Canada as a whole, the investment in industrial-commercial-institutional buildings held stable. It shows an increase of around 0.7% ($12,919,000,000) in 2014.

However, there are big differences in thow the building business is shaping up in different provinces and territories.

Alberta, a province on the march, showed the most positive results, with an increase in all three sectors, totalling 8.5% compared to the same quarter in 2013. Its biggest gain was in institutional building at 20.7%.

British Columbia, in contrast, showed negative results in all sectors, with an overall drop of -7.9%. Its biggest loss was in industrial buildings at -21.8%.

Ontario showed a relatively small overall downturn of -2.1%, with its biggest drop in institutional buildings at -15.5%. Industrial buildings were down -2.9%, but commercial buildings were up 5.1%.

Quebec showed an overall positive growth of 3.7%, with institutional building investment up by 12.9%. Industrial building dropped by -8.6%.

Of the less populous provinces the biggest gains were shown in New Brunswick at 28.3% for all sectors (77.7% for industrial buildings), and Prince Edward Island at 64.8% for all sectors.

Another Maritime province, Newfoundland and Labrador, however, showed the biggest decrease compared to last year, at -43.3% overall, and steep declining investment in all three building types.

To see the Statistics Canada Daily report of April 16, including comparisons with the last quarter of 2013, and statistics by metropolitan area, click here.