Major City Insights, Book 1: Spring 2022—Recovery Proceeding Across the Country but Risks Remain

The Conference Board of Canada, April 28, 2022
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Despite the rise in case counts from both the Omicron and BA.2 variants early in 2022, most Canadian cities have already seen restrictions loosened or dropped. We expect this to aid in the continued recovery of CMA economies across the country this year. It’s especially good news for the travel and tourism markets in each region, which so far have lagged most other industries in returning to their pre-pandemic levels. Still, higher prices and instability in other parts of the world serve as a downside risk to this year’s outlook.

This edition of our Major City Insights provides new forecasts for growth in 13 major cities across Canada as of March 23, 2022.

Book 1 focuses on the metropolitan economies of Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax, Hamilton, Montréal, Ottawa–Gatineau, Quebec City, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg.

Document Highlights

  • Vancouver added 123,500 net new jobs to its workforce in 2021, recovering most of the 128,000 jobs that were shed from the economy in the previous year.
  • Retail sales increased by 11.2 per cent in 2021 as the Québec City economy slowly opened up. This year, sales will decline by around 1 per cent as pent-up demand eases. Sales will rebound slightly in 2023, and average annual gains of about 3 per cent are expected over the following few years.
  • Housing markets in Toronto will keep making headlines. Higher interest rates and a reduction in built-up savings among consumers may hurt residential construction, but those factors will be dwarfed by a thirst for greater housing supply in the metropolitan area.
  • Real GDP in Winnipeg is expected to expand by 4.0 per cent this year and 3.5 per cent in 2023. The city’s diverse economy will continue to be a major plus—major industries include agri-business, aerospace, manufacturing, and insurance.

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