Provincial Outlook

Updated: November 25, 2020  |  Français

Tough times ahead.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a sharp contraction in economic activity throughout the world. We expect global real GDP to decline by 4.7 per cent this year, crushed by the lockdowns that brought a halt to non-essential activities in most countries in the second quarter of 2020. The global economy recovered part of the lost ground in the third quarter, but a second wave of the virus and a delay in additional stimulus measures in the United States is hampering the recovery in the fourth quarter.

Contents of the Provincial Outlook:

  • The pandemic has affected industries in different ways, meaning its effects on provincial economies will vary.
  • The recovery in Canada looked good over the summer, but it’s expected to flatten in the autumn and winter.
  • Canada should be able to avoid another full lockdown, but we do expect localized shutdowns to deal with regional outbreaks.
Frustrated man pinching the bridge of his nose; pump jack in a wheat field

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 retrenchments in some segments of household spending and business activity to hold back the pace of recovery into mid-2021.

The economic outlook varies for Canada’s provinces because of the different effects of the pandemic on the country’s industries.

A resurgence in COVID-19 cases globally will hold back demand for energy and keep the recovery in tourism on hold.

Massive government support has lifted aggregate household incomes well above their 2019 levels, supporting a surge in retail spending over the summer months.

The income support, coupled with rock-bottom interest rates, has fired up housing markets across the country. The finance, insurance, and real estate sector will do well this year despite the pandemic.

For most provinces, economic activity will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until the second half of 2021.

The federal and provincial governments are running up massive deficits this year. We expect growth in government spending to slow sharply once the crisis is past.

Issue briefings

Provincial two-year outlooks

Farmland, trees, and mountains

British Columbia

Forthcoming

Cowboy hearding cattle

Alberta

Forthcoming

Barns in a field

Saskatchewan

Forthcoming

Farmer with tablet standing in wheat field

Manitoba

Forthcoming

Rocky lakeshore with bent trees

Ontario

Forthcoming

Quebec city skyline from a river

Quebec

Forthcoming

Quebec city skyline from a river

Québec

À paraître

Lighthouse along a shore

New Brunswick

Forthcoming

Nova Scotia city skyline from the water

Nova Scotia

Forthcoming

Long wooden pier leading out to water

Prince Edward Island

Forthcoming

Cliffs and water

Newfoundland & Labrador

Forthcoming


Previous release

Uneven Recovery: Provincial Outlook—August 2020

Impact paper  |  25-min read
August 24, 2020

Previous two-year provincial outlooks

British Columbia
Advantages Boost the Prospects for a Recovery

9-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020

Alberta
Pandemic and Oil Collapse Lead to Surging Deficits

9-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020

Saskatchewan
Pandemic Exacerbates an Already Bleak Outlook

9-min read  |  Sep 17, 2020

Manitoba
Tough Times ... but It Could Be Worse

9-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020

Quebec
Will Quebec Pay a Price for Early Reopening?

9-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020

New Brunswick
A Promising Boost From Government Pandemic Response

9-min read  |  Sep 17, 2020

Nova Scotia
Pandemic Makes a Bad Situation Even Worse

9-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020

Prince Edward Island
Tourism Collapse Outweighs Virus Containment

8-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020

Newfoundland & Labrador
Trying to Stay Afloat—On- and Offshore

9-min read  |  Sep 29, 2020