Canadian Economics

The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s largest private economic analysis and forecasting unit. Key services include medium- and long-term outlooks on the national, provincial/territorial, metropolitan, and industrial economies, as well as custom economic analysis and forecasting. We are here to help leaders cut through the noise and make informed decisions to build the Canada of tomorrow.

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Recent releases

Inflation hits a decade high

Inflation accelerated again in May, due mainly to “base effects” on gasoline prices which recovered from the plunge last spring. Higher prices for consumer goods, including cars, new homes and food also contributed to the strong inflation figure last month. Going forward, we expect strong consumer spending coupled with supply shortages will keep inflation hot for the rest of 2021.

Quick take  | 2-min read
June 16, 2021

Most CMAs Continue to Have Positive Short-Term Expectations: Metropolitan Housing Starts

There are 11 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with positive short- and long-term expectations this month, the same number as last month. These are the CMAs in the up-up quadrant. Only two CMAs have negative short-term expectations. Vancouver is the only one with both negative short- and long-term expectations.

Online experience  | 8-min read
June 15, 2021

Economic Recovery Underway, but Third Wave Hinders Some Provinces: Provincial Outlook

Expectations for a solid economic recovery in Canada this year are linked to rising vaccination rates and the gradual reopening of the economy. The surge in new COVID-19 cases last autumn continued in the early part of this year and led to a return of strict lockdowns in many parts of the country.

Online experience  |  8-min read
June 15, 2021

Pandemic’s Lingering Effects Will Haunt Canada’s Long-Term Prospects: Canada’s Outlook to 2040

Canada’s immediate economic prospects have improved since our last long-term update in December 2020, as the rollout of vaccines has boosted business and household confidence. At the same time, labour markets are quickly recovering many of the jobs lost due to the pandemic last year. Overall, we expect real GDP to expand in 2021 and in 2022.

Online experience  |  8-min read
June 15, 2021

Pandemic Causing Widespread Disruption: Industry Lens

COVID-19 is challenging many Canadian industries in an unprecedented way. As businesses across the country try to adapt, our Industry Lens reports look deeply into the latest developments affecting Canadian industries.

Online experience  |  2-min read
June 10, 2021

Bank of Canada continues to hold rates steady until inflation objective is met

The Bank of Canada held its policy interest rate steady while continuing its weekly net purchases of Government of Canada bonds with a target of $3 billion per week. CPI inflation is around the top of the 1-3 per cent target range but the Bank expects that to ease in the second half of the year.

Quick Take  |  2-min read
June 9, 2021

Growth hinges on vaccine roll-out: Major City Insights

In cities across Canada, economic recovery from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic depends largely on the vaccine rollout and containing the spread of the virus. The hardest-hit sectors of the economy—particularly those that depend on people gathering in public—will take longer to recover.

Online experience  |  8-min read
June 8, 2021

Further job losses in May as third wave lingers

The employment declines captured in May’s labour force survey results reflect the lingering impact of the third wave of the pandemic in Canada. However, the severity of the losses is reduced compared to the previous month indicating the peak of the wave has passed.

Quick take  |  3-min read
June 4, 2021

Canada’s First Quarter GDP Rises 1.4%

Following two months of solid gains, real GDP rose in March, posting a monthly gain of 1.1 per cent. Overall, the economy forged ahead in the first quarter of the year, supported by strong household and government spending, residential construction and growth in exports. The growth in March is a testament to the resilience of the Canadian economy to perform well when pandemic measures are eased.

Quick take  | 4-min read
June 2, 2021

Growing Canada’s Exports in a More Insular World

In 2020, Canada’s real exports plunged, as the global pandemic led to a collapse in demand from all of its major trading partners. The recovery in the global economy, attributable to the widespread distribution of vaccines and a reopening of economies, will help Canada’s exports rebound growth this year and in 2022.

Impact paper  |  24-min read
May 27, 2021

Resale Markets Throttle Back, but Remain Brisk: Metropolitan Resale Snapshot

Canada's existing housing markets plateaued in April. Sales pulled back from red-hot March levels in most markets, and listings rose in many areas. Markets remained generally boiling, though, due to low interest rates and the ongoing move to outlying markets.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 27, 2021

Consumer confidence ticks up as COVID-19 cases come down: Index of Consumer Confidence

The Index of Consumer Confidence jumped in May almost offsetting the points lost last month. The index now sits at 87 per cent of its pre-pandemic level. With the rollout of vaccines picking up speed, many Canadians are growing more hopeful for an economic reopening, and are thus feeling more confident about their future job prospects.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 26, 2021

Business confidence continues to climb: Index of Business Confidence

In The Conference Board of Canada’s latest survey of business leaders, business confidence continued its upward trend. Since falling to historic lows in 2020, business confidence has now reached its highest level since mid-2018. With the COVID-19 vaccine campaign ramping up nationally, our survey results indicate that businesses are ready to start spending on capital when the time is right.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 26, 2021

Volatile oil prices push inflation to 10-year high

Inflation spiked in April, due mainly to a rebound in oil prices in the past 12 months as well as the surge in new home prices. We expect that inflation will remain hot in May given the plunge in prices that occurred in the early stage of the pandemic last year. A recovery in global demand for resources and strengthening consumer spending at home, will be the main contributors to inflation going forward.

Quick take  | 3-min read
May 19, 2021

Manufacturing sales grow in March

The results from March’s Survey of Manufacturing brings signs of progress across a sector that has suffered in the wake of economic restrictions, delays in global shipping and shortages of key production inputs over the preceding months.

Quick take  | 3-min read
May 14, 2021

Vaccines to the Rescue: World Outlook

World economic activity slowed sharply toward the end of last year in many regions due to a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic and the reimposition of lockdown restrictions. However, the rollout of vaccines in many countries and massive fiscal and monetary stimulus, especially in the U.S., should result in a gain in world GDP of this year and 2022.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 13, 2021

Canada’s labour market hit by third wave of COVID-19

April’s Labour Force Survey shows the impact that tightening COVID-19 measures are having on employment in Canada. The third wave of the pandemic dealt a heavy blow to jobs in Ontario, with schools and stores forced to close. However, with the rollout of vaccines underway, we expect employment to bounce back as we have seen in the past once restrictions are eased.

Quick take  | 3-min read
May 7, 2021

Toronto’s Global Financial Centre: Driving Economic Growth

Toronto’s financial centre is vital to the Canadian economy—providing jobs, growing GDP, and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises during the pandemic. Total employment in Toronto’s financial sector is ranked second in North America and eighth globally.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 4, 2021

Forecasters more optimistic about Canada’s economic prospects: Survey of Forecasters

With real GDP expected to expand this year, forecasters are more positive about Canada’s economy. Canada’s expansion in 2021 will be led by exports, housing activity, and investment spending. The massive fiscal and monetary stimulus injected into the economy—and the subsequent increase in economic growth over the past 12 months—will result in higher increases in consumer prices this year.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 3, 2021

Canada’s GDP growth continued in February as third wave loomed

As national vaccinations started to pick-up in February, real GDP grew by 0.4 per cent month-over-month. With Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate for growth in March, first quarter output will likely be higher than expected in our most recent national forecast. Yet recent surges in new cases of COVID-19 reversed the loosening of restrictions in many provinces in April. We therefore expect that growth may have cooled off in recent weeks.

Quick take  |  3-min read
April 30, 2021

Hope at Last: Canadian Outlook

The surge in new COVID-19 cases last autumn continued in the early part of this year and led to a return of strict lockdowns in many parts of the country. This depressed economic activity, and we anticipate that real GDP growth will increase by only 0.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year. Although the worst of the second wave has subsided, new infections remain high, while more severe variants of the virus continue to increase.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 28, 2021

Another Electric Month for Resale Markets: Metropolitan Resale Snapshot

Canada's existing housing markets continued red-hot in March, as rising listings allowed higher sales volumes in many markets. Interest rates remain low, and homebuyers generally want more living space and can look in secondary markets, now that many former commuters work from home.

Online experience  |  8-min read
April 27, 2021

Space to Grow: Job Transitions in Ontario’s Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Tourism and hospitality is one of Ontario’s key economic drivers. In 2019, the sector employed over 620,000 Ontarians and generated nearly $21 billion in labour income. Before the pandemic-related disruptions, employment in the sector had been stable and sustainable. However, Ontario’s labour market is steadily evolving and, for some tourism and hospitality workers, this evolution has led to job losses, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased and accelerated these pressures.

Impact Paper  |  15-min read
April 23, 2021
Client—Future Skills Centre

Strong recovery in oil prices spurs inflation in March

Inflation surged due to a strong rebound in consumer prices this March compared to extremely low prices in the year earlier period. Rising oil and housing prices were two of the main contributors to the strength in inflation. Given subdued consumer prices last spring, we expect that inflation will continue to trend above 2.0 per cent in the coming months.

Quick take  |  3-min read
April 21, 2021

Bank of Canada holds rates steady while making cuts to its quantitative easing program

Despite a stronger than expected economic performance in the first quarter of 2021, the Bank of Canada held its policy interest rate steady and announced that its weekly net purchases of Government of Canada bonds will be reduced to a target of $3 billion.

Quick take  |  3-min read
April 21, 2021

Budget 2021: A Big Bet On Future Growth

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s inaugural budget is intended to transform the economy by favouring vaccine rollouts and economic recovery in the near term and focusing on the labour force, green technology, and education over the long-term. While good intentioned, the fiscal roadmap outlined by the Liberal government will come at a cost to Canadians.

Op-ed  |  4-min read
April 20, 2021

Surge in Growth Linked to Vaccines and Ongoing Government Stimulus: US Outlook

The U.S. economy is set to expand this year on the heels of a 3.5 per cent decline in 2020. Next year, a solid gain is anticipated. One of the main factors driving the rebound is the massive $1.9-trillion stimulus package recently implemented by the Biden administration. The stimulus provides funds for individual families, state and local governments, health care, and the delivery of vaccinations, among other things.

Online experience  |  2-min read
April 19, 2021

All on Board: Does Disclosure Help Create More Inclusive Boardrooms?

Canadian governments, corporate stakeholders, and advocacy organizations sought to use disclosure to accelerate women’s representation. Disclosure is a regulatory approach that requires companies to: (1) disclose the number of women on their boards and (2) disclose the efforts they have made (or not) to increase that representation.

Impact paper  |  30-min read
April 14, 2021

Elderly people clasping hands
Canada adds 303,100 jobs in March, but dark clouds are on the horizon

The labour force survey brings news of employment growth across Canada, pushing the unemployment rate to a new low since the onset of the pandemic. Notable employment gains in the retail sector and in Ontario fueled the jobs recovery in March.

Quick take  |  4-min read
April 9, 2021

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Chief Economist

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