Canadian construction activity dropped 41% from March to April and is now recovering


Toronto, ON — The quick response of British Columbia’s provincial government seems to have mitigated the impact of COVID-19 on the province’s construction industry, according to new data.

According to the Construction Activity Index, construction worker hours in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario dropped through March by as much as 41 per cent the week of April 6, before recovering in last spring and summer.

The index, produced by Procore, tracks weekly changes in worker hours from a baseline the week of March 16 through the week of July 27, 2020. According to Procore, all the provinces were all above the baseline as of the week of July 27.

The provinces have had different COVID-19 caseloads, timelines and policies, including protocols addressing construction activity, which affected each province’s construction activity differently, according to Procore’s data.

Ontario saw the sharpest decline, dropping 57 per cent below the baseline the week of April 6. Worker hours in Ontario then climbed before levelling off in June. Alberta’s decline was not as dramatic as seen in Ontario, but lasted longer, with construction activity dropping below the baseline in 12 of the 19 weeks covered in the data. In contrast, British Columbia has seen worker hours remain above the baseline except for a drop of seven per cent the week of April 6.

“The pandemic has challenged all of us, personally and professionally,” said Jas Saraw, vice president, Canada, at Procore. “Our position in the industry enables us to provide insights that would otherwise be unavailable. This information helps construction organizations and economists better understand trends and consider ways forward as the industry navigates the pandemic and recession together.”

Image: Procore


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