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CHBA’s Economic Performance Review Shows Residential Construction Industry’s Resilience and Importance During Challenging Times

OTTAWA, ON – JULY 7, 2020 – The Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) released today its annual report on the performance of Canada’s residential construction, outlining how despite the slowdown during the initial months of the pandemic and challenging lumber and product material prices and shortages, the industry’s resilience ensured it remained a key driver in Canada’s economy last year.

The report, Residential Construction in Canada – Economic Performance Review 2020 with 2021 Insights, features an overview of the 2020-21 residential construction market (both new construction and renovation), analysis on lumber and other supply chain issues as well as the labour force, and national trends paired with provincial analysis. Interesting takeaways include a huge spike in renovation months into the pandemic, increased demand for single-family houses and townhomes, and the link between lack of housing supply and rising prices.

“The past year demonstrated that Canadians’ homes are more important to them than ever, and that homeownership remains a fundamental aspiration for Canadians for so many reasons,” notes CHBA CEO Kevin Lee. “The residential construction sector has been doing all it can to respond to the housing needs of Canadians through these challenging times and is providing much needed economic recovery growth through jobs, wages, and investment in every community. The ability to bring on more housing supply in most urban centres is crucial for improving housing affordability, we encourage concentrated efforts by all levels of government to facilitate more supply of all housing types quickly. This can help calm house prices while also meeting the needs of Canadians and a recovering economy.”

One of Canada’s largest employers, there were a total of 1.24 million on-site and off-site jobs in the sector in 2020, with 58% of those jobs concentrated in renovation and repair, and 42% in new home construction. And while the number of jobs was down slightly in 2020 due to the pandemic, the sector actually managed to increase the number of housing starts by year end in 2020 compared to 2019—an amazing feat. The industry provided for $138.1 billion in economic activity and $81.1 billion in wages that support Canadians and local economies across the country.

“As the jobs, wages, and investment generated by the residential construction sector continue to be significant in our local, provincial, and national economies, it is also worth noting we are facing a skilled worker shortage now and moving forward. With some 20 percent of our labour force retiring in the coming decade, it’s a great time for young people to consider a rewarding career in this sector,” adds Lee.

The report is accompanied by Economic Impact Fact Sheets that show the significant economic impacts of the industry at the national, provincial, and community levels. For the first time, these fact sheets can also be easily searched via an interactive dashboard on CHBA’s web site.


Journalists wishing to interview Kevin Lee, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association are encouraged to submit their request by email to

Since 1943, the Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) has been "the voice of Canada's residential construction industry." Representing one of the largest industry sectors in Canada, our membership is made up of some 9,000 companies – including home builders, renovators, land developers, trade contractors, product and material manufacturers, building product suppliers, lending institutions, insurance providers, and service professionals.