Preparing for Growth in the Construction Industry Through a Global Economic Slowdown


TORONTO - December 30, 2019 - (

BTY is pleased to release its 16th annual Market Intelligence Report (MIR) for the construction industry across Canada, including major trends impacting the industry’s future and overall activity in select international markets. Despite an expected global economic slowdown, the MIR identifies opportunities for growth in the industry.

For 2020, we are forecasting continued higher escalation in Ontario (6-7%), British Columbia (5-6%), and Quebec (4-5%), with low to moderate escalation in Alberta (1-2%), Saskatchewan (1-2%), Manitoba (1-2%), and the Atlantic Provinces (0-1%).

The overall outlook for construction activity across Canada is varied.

The largest private sector investment ever in Canada’s history, the $40 billion LNG Canada development, is anchoring BC’s sustained building boom, while strong ICI activity, a resilient housing sector and major infrastructure projects are fueling Ontario’s robust industry.

Alberta and Saskatchewan will continue to see challenges related to oil production, transportation and trade. However, additions to pipeline capacity and improved efficiencies signal improving conditions through and beyond 2020.

Manitoba and the Atlantic provinces will hold steady for the most part, while Quebec maintains a brisk pace with a growing pipeline of planned projects forecast post 2020.

Growth is limited nationwide for residential building comparing forecast starts year over year. Affordability remains a critical issue in major urban centres.

“What stands out to us is the industry’s consistent ability to adapt to change and challenge,” says Managing Director Toby Mallinder. “With a record increase in foreign direct investment, sustained high immigration, a surging tech sector, expanding investment in renewable energy and a strong infrastructure pipeline, we see reason to be optimistic for construction in Canada even as trade uncertainty shadows the global economy.”

With Canada’s economy forecast to grow at 1.6 per cent in 2019 and increase to 1.8 per cent in 2020, the overall outlook for construction remains positive. Here is a province-by-province summary:

ONTARIO will see a very tight labour market, especially in major urban centres, thanks to Toronto’s office building boom, major transportation infrastructure projects and a resilient residential sector.

BRITISH COLUMBIA is at full steam with multiple mega-projects in energy and transportation and booming office building driven by an expanding tech sector, all of which will strain an already tight labour supply.

ALBERTA will continue to see lower construction levels given oil patch challenges. However, strong population growth will sustain residential building, and investment in renewables will create new opportunities.

SASKATCHEWAN is also facing a year of low growth due to soft commodity prices and export roadblocks. One bright spot is steady population growth, expected to sustain demand in the residential sector.

MANITOBA will have major energy projects wrapping up and slower growth in residential and commercial construction. However, new projects in the energy sector and food processing will help keep activity levels stable.

QUEBEC is projected to have a slight moderation in its robust activity levels. Strength in office and condos, industrial and warehousing, and infrastructure will remain mainstays.

ATLANTIC PROVINCES. Prince Edward Island will repeat as a growth leader, with Nova Scotia right behind. New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador will see low growth; all four provinces will have declines in the residential sectors.

BTY has been publishing its annual industry review of construction cost forecasts across Canada since 2003. Over the years, the Market Intelligence Report has earned a reputation in the development, property and finance communities for crucial insights on factors behind the changing marketplace and reliable unit rate cost projections for the coming year.

A full copy of the report can be accessed on our website at


Saira Muzaffar, Director, Marketing & Communications


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