Crane and Hoist Canada

Building construction cooled slightly in May: Statistics Canada

July 13, 2021  By Todd Humber

Investment in building construction cooled slightly in May, decreasing 1.9 per cent to $19.4 billion, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

This was the first drop in seven months. Residential construction investment (down 2.7 per cent) was down for the first time since April 2020, while non-residential construction increased slightly.

On a constant dollar basis, investment in building construction declined 2.7 per cent to $14.8 billion in May.

Residential decline

Residential construction was down 2.7 per cent in May, bringing total investment to $14.8 billion with declines in both single and multi-unit construction.


Investment in single-family homes was down 2.7 per cent to $8.3 billion. Quebec and Ontario posted the largest declines. Despite the decrease this month, single-unit investment remained about 60 per cent above pre-COVID-19 levels.

With half of the provinces decreasing, multi-unit construction investment fell 2.6 per cent to $6.5 billion in May. Quebec reported the largest decline (down 11 per cent), reversing a 13 per cent increase in April.

Non-residential increase

Non-residential investment increased 0.6 per cent to $4.7 billion in May.

Investment in commercial construction increased 0.8 per cent to $2.6 billion. Ontario continued to lead this component with multiple high-value construction projects in the works across the province such as Amazon fulfillment centres, the Labourers Union office building in Vaughan and a Canadian Tire distribution centre in Brampton.

Institutional investment

Institutional investment continued to grow for the seventh consecutive month, up 1.2 per cent to $1.2 billion. Quebec led the way, advancing 3.7 per cent to $341 million. Ontario, Alberta and Prince Edward Island were the other provinces to report notable gains.

Industrial construction

Seven provinces saw declines in industrial construction, which decreased 0.7 per cent to $837 million nationally in May.

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