Provincial Outlook

Updated: October 5, 2020  |  Français

Uneven recovery.

As COVID-19 spread throughout the world, countries mandated lockdowns to slow the transmission of the disease. As a result, economic activity ground to a halt around the globe, and Canada was no different.

Contents of the Summer 2020 edition:

  • The three Maritime provinces will perform better than most other parts of the country this year.
  • Provinces dependent on the energy sector will have tougher time recovering from the recession.
  • Ontario’s economy would have fared even worse this year were it not for the ability of employees in the key financial services industry to work remotely.
  • For most provinces, economic activity will not return to pre-COVID-19 levels until the second half of 2021.
Frustrated man pinching the bridge of his nose; pump jack in a wheat field

Key findings

The pandemic-led shutdown produced a deep and synchronized impact on economic activity across all provinces in March and April.

Provinces dependent on the energy sector—notably, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador—have been hit especially hard by the double whammy of collapsing oil prices and the economic shutdown due to the virus.

COVID-19 continues to hamper the global economic recovery, especially air transportation. This will keep demand for oil and other resources down until well into 2022.

Ontario and Quebec would have fared even worse this year were it not for the ability of employees in the financial sector and in other business services industries to work remotely.

The Maritime provinces suffered less severe downturns, thanks in part to having fewer COVID-19 cases. Their recoveries in 2021 will be less strong than those of the other provinces.

Manitoba has, so far, done a good job of containing the spread of the virus. Still, its key aerospace manufacturing industry will be hard hit by global travel restrictions.

Helped by some key advantages, including a better fiscal position heading into the pandemic, British Columbia will experience less severe economic damage from the virus than most provinces.

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

Issue briefings

Provincial two-year outlooks

Farmland, trees, and mountains

British Columbia
Advantages Boost the Prospects for a Recovery

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 29, 2020

Cowboy hearding cattle

Alberta
Pandemic and Oil Collapse Lead to Surging Deficits

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 29, 2020

Barns in a field

Saskatchewan
Pandemic Exacerbates an Already Bleak Outlook

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 17, 2020

Farmer with tablet standing in wheat field

Manitoba
Tough Times ... but It Could Be Worse

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 29, 2020

Rocky lakeshore with bent trees

Ontario
Plenty of Risks to the Recovery From the COVID-Driven Recession

9-min read  |  Released: Oct 5, 2020

Quebec city skyline from a river

Quebec
Will Quebec Pay a Price for Early Reopening?

9-min read  |  Released: Oct 5, 2020

Lighthouse along a shore

New Brunswick
A Promising Boost From Government Pandemic Response

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 17, 2020

Nova Scotia city skyline from the water

Nova Scotia
Pandemic Makes a Bad Situation Even Worse

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 29, 2020

Long wooden pier leading out to water

Prince Edward Island
Tourism Collapse Outweighs Virus Containment

8-min read  |  Released: Sep 29, 2020

Cliffs and water

Newfoundland & Labrador
The Bottom’s Not Out of Her Yet

9-min read  |  Released: Sep 29, 2020