Led by higher spending on commercial building construction, investment in non-residential building construction reached $12.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013, marking the second consecutive quarterly increase, according to Statistics Canada.
Overall, total investment rose in six provinces in the fourth quarter, with the largest gains in Alberta and Quebec.
The increase in Alberta was spread across the commercial, industrial and institutional components, while in Quebec, the gain was in the institutional and commercial components.
In Ontario, the rise in the commercial component was not enough to offset declines in the institutional and industrial components.
Investment was up in 18 of the 34 census metropolitan areas with the largest increases in Edmonton and Montréal.
In Edmonton, the gain was mostly attributable to commercial investment, while in Montréal, it came from higher construction spending for institutional and commercial buildings.
In Ontario, London and Sherbrooke posted the largest declines, mostly as a result of decreases in the institutional and commercial components.
Commercial investment reached $7.8 billion in the fourth quarter, up 1.7 per cent from the previous quarter.
This was the second consecutive quarterly increase and reflected higher spending in the construction of office and recreational buildings as well as retail and wholesale outlets in several provinces.
The largest contribution in the commercial component came from Alberta, where investment rose 4.9 per cent to $1.8 billion.
The increase resulted from rising investment among several categories of commercial buildings.
Investment in Ontario increased 1.9 per cent to $2.9 billion, mostly attributable to higher spending for recreational and office buildings.
Newfoundland and Labrador posted the largest decline, as a result of lower spending spread among several commercial building categories.
Investment in the institutional component increased 0.3 per cent to $3.4 billion, the second straight quarterly gain.
Institutional investment rose in eight provinces with the largest increases in Quebec and Alberta. Spending was up 4.4 per cent to $754 million in Quebec, reflecting a rise in investment in health care facilities and other government buildings.
In Alberta, investment rose 4.2 per cent to $405 million, the province’s sixth consecutive quarterly gain. The advance was led by higher spending in the construction of health care facilities.
In Ontario, institutional investment fell five per cent to $1.3 billion, mostly as a result of lower spending for educational buildings.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, investment declined for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.2 per cent to $23 million. The decrease was mostly the result of lower spending on the construction of nursing home buildings.
Investment in industrial projects rose 0.3 per cent to $1.8 billion in the fourth quarter, the second consecutive quarterly gain. Growth was mainly from the construction of primary industry buildings and manufacturing plants in six provinces.
Provincially, the largest increase was in Alberta, where investment rose 4.7 per cent to $423 million. Most of the gain was attributable to manufacturing plants.
British Columbia and Ontario posted the largest declines in the fourth quarter. British Columbia saw industrial investment decline 5.2 per cent to $174 million, mostly because of lower construction of manufacturing plants. In Ontario, industrial investment decreased 1.5 per cent to $597 million, mainly because of lower spending on utility buildings and manufacturing plants.