Major City Insights: Calgary—May 2022

The Conference Board of Canada, May 5, 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.

This forecast focuses on the Calgary metropolitan economy.

Document Highlights

  • Stronger oil prices remain great news for this city, whose name is virtually synonymous with the mineral fuel. The removal of COVID-19 public health restrictions is another bright spot for businesses that have suffered under them.
  • War in Ukraine, while devastating in human and most economic terms, has lifted the price of oil sharply in recent weeks. The price of West Texas intermediate oil rose above US$110 per barrel, a dramatic increase from under US$65 per barrel in early December.
  • COVID-19 continues to lurk in Alberta, but vaccines have helped to reduce the severity of the disease, and so the province eliminated most public health restrictions on March 1.
  • Calgary largely ended public health restrictions and its mask bylaw at the same time, although masks continue to be required in high-risk and close-contact settings like hospitals and public transit.  
  • Calgary’s real GDP regained its pre-pandemic peak (reached in the second quarter of 2019) in the fourth quarter of 2021, capping a year in which GDP expanded by 6.5 per cent—the fastest growth since 2011.
  • Ongoing energy sector health will boost Calgary’s GDP by 6.6 per cent in 2022 and 4.7 per cent in 2023, well above Canada’s expected economic growth of 4.1 and 3.3 per cent.
  • Markets for both new and existing homes in Calgary are booming, but the city’s office market remains weak. 

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