Ontario Construction News staff writer
Statistics Canada recently released new building permit and Labour Force Survey data, with both showing positive news for Ontario’s ICI sector, the Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) reported on May 11.
“Ontario’s ICI permit values in March were up by a third (33.3%) compared to February,” research director Katherine Jacobs wrote in a memo. “For the first quarter of 2022 overall, ICI permit values in Ontario amounted to $3.6 billion, an increase of 7.9% compared to last year’s first quarter. Ontario’s first quarter ICI total was also higher than any first quarter in previous years.”
Jacobs noted that industrial permit values increased by 51.3% for the first quarter of 2022 from the same quarter of last year, and the “Q1 2022 total ($1.15 billion) was greater than any previous quarter in at least the past decade.”
However, institutional permit values fell by 21.7% compared to the first quarter of 2021.
She noted that permit values were down significantly in the first two months of 2022 compared to the last half of 2021.
However, “after a slow start to the year, commercial permit values rose by 24% month-over-month in March. This was the second month-over-month increase in the commercial sector.
Furthermore, the March increase lifted Ontario’s Q1 commercial permit values to $1.8 billion, 3.1% higher than in the first quarter of 2021,” Jacobs wrote.
Meanwhile, data from Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey “reveals that the construction industry labour force in Ontario rose to 607,900 in April,” she wrote.
“This was the first time that Ontario’s construction industry labour force surpassed 600,000. Employment in Ontario’s construction industry also reached a record high in April, with 575,500 employed overall. The previous high (574,400) occurred in September 2019.”
The unemployment rate in Ontario’s construction industry fell to 5.3% in April, after spending the first three months of the year unmoved at 6.2%. Ontario’s general unemployment rate was 5.5% in April, down from 5.8% in March, Jacobs wrote.