On January 13th, Statistics Canada released new data on cross-border travel. December’s leading indicator of cross-border traveller volume showed that the number of American residents and returning Canadians crossing the Canada-U.S. border by automobile remained low. With restrictions on non-essential travel still in effect, crossings were down by more than 90% from levels observed in December of 2019. In 2019, more than 270,000 Canadian residents returned home from the United States during the weekend following Christmas Day (December 28th to 30th). In 2020, only 146,000 Canadian residents crossed back into Canada by automobile during the entire month of December.

The leading indicator of international arrivals to Canada by air for the fourth quarter was also released. The total number of international arrivals (i.e. non-residents and returning Canadians) remained far below pre-pandemic levels. Just over 71,000 non-residents (from the United States and overseas) arrived at Canadian airports from October to December. During these months, 217,100 Canadian residents returned home by air, with a discernible uptick in December. The average daily travel volume rose from 1,883 in October to 2,165 in November, and then to 3,025 in December, a month when 93,800 Canadians returned from abroad by air.

On January 12th, the agency released investment in building construction for November. Outlays on residential dwellings edged down 0.1% as higher spending on single units was offset by lower investment in multi-unit dwellings. November’s slight decline followed six months of steady increases in total residential outlays, which, at $10.8 billion, remained 5.5% above pre-COVID levels.

Outlays on non-residential construction were unchanged in November as higher spending on institutional and industrial building was offset by lower investment in commercial buildings. Following four months of steady declines, total non-residential outlays, at $4.4 billion, were nearly 13% below pre-COVID levels. Spending on commercial buildings was at its lowest level since the April lockdown.

Source: Statistics Canada