Canadian contractors took out $4.5 billion in building permits in March, up 23.5% from February, halting five consecutive monthly declines, according to Statistics Canada. March's increase came mainly from the non-residential sector in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

Intentions in the non-residential sector rose 47.9% to $2.3 billion, in the wake of increases in the commercial and institutional components in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta.

In the residential sector, the value of permits advanced 5.0% to $2.2 billion. This increase was the result of higher construction intentions in both multi-family and single-family permits.

Following a 30.0% decrease in February, the value of the non-residential sector increased in six provinces, mainly as a result of gains in the commercial and institutional components.

In the commercial component, the value of permits increased 45.6% to $1.4 billion. This increase came mostly from higher construction intentions for office buildings in Ontario.

Permits in the institutional component increased 89.2% to $722 million, following a 54.2% decline in February. This increase was largely the result of higher construction intentions for medical buildings in British Columbia and government and education buildings in Ontario.

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