Canadian Outlook

Updated: November 3, 2020  |  Français

COVID-19 and uncertainty to flatten the curve of economic recovery.

Canada’s economy bounced back in recent months following the economic plunge sparked by the COVID-19-related shutdown in March and April. At its trough in April, real GDP was at 82 per cent of February’s (pre-COVID) level, 3 million Canadians were out of work (a 15.6 per cent decline in employment), and total hours worked had plummeted a staggering 28 per cent. Still a gaping chasm remains to be closed before Canada’s economy is back to normal.

Contents of the Autumn 2020 edition:

  • World economy slowly starting to recover
  • Trade recovery hits some speed bumps
  • Labour market recovery will slow
  • Housing markets strengthen … for now
  • Government to rescue … but taps will close quickly
Woman on cellphone; Canadian flag infront of glass skyscraper

Key findings

Canada’s economy is on the mend, but the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over. We expect localized closures and a retrenchment in some segments of household spending and business activity to hold back the pace of recovery into mid-2021.

Massive stimulus measures implemented by federal and provincial governments will help support households and businesses, but firms and workers in the most affected sectors will suffer continued hardship.

South of the border, the recovery also depends crucially on Congress and the president agreeing to additional stimulus measures to keep the economy on track over the next few months. Canadian exports to the U.S. have rebounded, but continued progress is tied to U.S. household spending.

The crisis has stretched the limits of federal and provincial government finances. A return to austerity is in the cards over the medium term.

Issue briefings

Canada’s two-year outlooks

Housing Markets Shake Off COVID … for Now

12-min read  |  Nov 2, 2020

Resilience to Be Tested on Long Road to Recovery

11-min read  |  Oct 20, 2020

Financial markets
Rock-Bottom Rates Are Here to Stay

13-min read  |  Oct 21, 2020

Business investment
Investment Recovery Fraught With Risks

14-min read  |  Oct 20, 2020

International trade
Trade Recovery Hits Some Speed Bumps

15-min read  |  Oct 21, 2020

Industry trends
Uneven Recovery Ahead for Industries

12-min read  |  Oct 26, 2020

Household consumption
Goods Spending Driving Consumption Recovery

12-min read  |  Oct 26, 2020

Household income and employment
After Hot Start, Jobs Recovery Has Slowed

12-min read  |  Nov 3, 2020

Governments Act Quickly and Dramatically

12-min read  |  Nov 3, 2020