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Canadian Economy: What’s Ahead for 2018

Canada’s economic growth in 2017 was the fastest of the G7 countries. In all, the Canadian economy expanded by 3.0 per cent. This year, however, the Canadian economy is expected to slow to a still-healthy growth rate of 2.1 per cent. Following strong employment gains in 2017, the pace of job creation will cool in 2018, mainly due to a tight labour market and the aging population. On a more positive note, the tightening labour market will help support wage growth, which is expected to reach 3.1 per cent this year. Despite these wage gains, Canadians will be squeezed by higher debt levels and rising interest rates. And consumer spending growth is expected to fall from 3.6 per cent in 2017 to 2.4 per cent in 2018.

Features

Pile of cut logs, face on  

Offsetting Softwood Lumber Duties

Canada’s lumber industry has been able to survive the impacts of preliminary duties, largely thanks to soaring lumber prices last year. Lumber prices hit their highest levels in over a decade due to a number of factors, including supply constraints in B.C. from the wildfires, increased demand from a recovering U.S. housing market, and rebuilding efforts in hurricane-affected regions. However, the industry’s performance is expected to deteriorate over the next five years as the tailwinds that drove lumber prices up begin to dissipate. Unless the industry can replace lost U.S. demand with markets outside of North America or there is a favourable outcome to softwood lumber negotiations, production is expected to average growth of only 0.6 per cent between 2018 and 2019. This is compared with average annual gains of 5.3 per cent between 2010 and 2016.


Commercial jet being prepared for flight  

A Banner Year for Canadian Tourism

The strong Canadian economy, elevated business and consumer confidence, and major celebrations held across the country combined to make 2017 a successful year for tourism in Canada. Overnight visits to and within Canada are expected to have increased by a solid 3.1 per cent last year. This year, more modest but healthy growth of 2.5 per cent is forecast. Improvements in direct air connectivity should help grow domestic pleasure and business travel by improving convenience and offering more competitive travel choices. Meanwhile, U.S. and international visits will be boosted by the low Canadian dollar, the increased direct air capacity, and new marketing efforts.


Prescriptions bottle with pills spilling out  

The Gap in Prescription Drug Coverage

While most Canadians have access to prescription drug coverage through private or public plans, many do not take advantage of that coverage. In fact, over 4 million Canadians are not enrolled in either public or private coverage, despite being eligible. The reasons for this might include a lack of awareness of their eligibility or out-of-pocket costs. According to a recent survey conducted by Nanos Research for this report, of the Canadians who did not take their medications as prescribed, roughly 60 per cent were either unaware or unsure that there might be a public program to help pay for prescription drugs. Another reason may be that the cost of enrolment outweighs the benefit of enrolling.


Three business people meditating  

Employers and Workplace Wellness

Investing in a comprehensive health and wellness program is an essential part of a healthy work environment and makes good business sense. However, Canadian employers may be missing opportunities to demonstrate their commitment to employee health and well-being. In our recent survey, just one-third of Canadian organizations reported having a formal wellness strategy in place. Meanwhile, nearly half are taking a more informal approach to their wellness initiatives and a further 20.0 per cent have no wellness strategy at all.


Three bottled drinks with straws in them  

Canadians Are Drinking Fewer Calories

Canadians continue to reduce the number of calories they are consuming from beverages. In 2014, Canadians consumed an average 142.5 Calories (calories from sugar) a day from beverages such as bottled water, soft drinks, juice, and energy drinks. That dropped to 133.9 Calories in 2015, and 128.0 Calories in 2016, representing a 10.2 per cent reduction since 2014. This puts the Canadian Beverage Association’s Balance Calories Initiative on track to meet its target of a 20 per cent reduction in the calories Canadians consume from beverages by 2025.


Burning joint held by fingers in front of maple leaf  

Marijuana and the Workplace

The legalization of marijuana raises many questions for Canadian employers. Are HR policies and procedures up to date? Should organizations be testing employees? What will the impact be on organizational culture? Our Marijuana @ Work conference in Toronto on February 14–15, 2018, will aim to get Canadian workplaces properly prepared for the legalization of marijuana later this year.



CBoC Highlights

Two people speaking
Depression infographic thumbnail
Sabine Sparwasser, Ambassador, and Marcus Stadthaus, First Secretary, of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Ottawa stopped by The Conference Board of Canada offices on December 14, 2017. The Honourable Murray Sinclair, former chief commissioner of the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission, addressed the crowd at our Diversity and Inclusion 2017 conference.

In This Issue

  • Canadian Economy: What’s Ahead for 2018
  • Offsetting Softwood Lumber Duties
  • A Banner Year for Canadian Tourism
  • The Gap in Prescription Drug Coverage
  • Employers and Workplace Wellness
  • Canadians Are Drinking Fewer Calories
  • Marijuana and the Workplace

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