Major City Insights: Ottawa–Gatineau—May 2022

The Conference Board of Canada, May 12, 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 Ottawa–Gatineau metropolitan economy

Document Highlights

  • Ottawa–Gatineau’s economy is poised to expand 3.2 per cent in 2022 and 2.6 per cent next year.
  • The local economy’s concentration in the stable public sector will continue to shield it from large economic fluctuations seen in other metropolitan areas. The public administration sector accounts for nearly one-third of Ottawa–Gatineau’s real GDP, compared with around 7 per cent Canada-wide.
  • Supply bottlenecks have battered manufacturers more than any other industry. But the sector accounts for only 3 per cent of Ottawa–Gatineau’s economy, limiting the harm to the city from supply chain woes over the past year.
  • In 2021, the construction sector expanded 10.7 per cent. That was the industry’s strongest growth in two decades, a testament to last year’s record high in housing starts. But construction output growth will slow to around 1.5 per cent annually through 2023 as housing activity cools, albeit modestly.
  • Canadian travel markets look set to make their much-anticipated comeback this year, providing a much-needed jolt to Ottawa–Gatineau’s tourism sector, particularly in the summer as Canada Day events and local festivals such as Bluesfest gear up for maximum capacity.
  • The tourism sector will also get a small but significant boost from Ontario’s staycation tax credit in 2022, whereby Ontario residents could get back up to 20 per cent on eligible accommodation costs if they travel within their province.
  • Another bright spot in the city’s economy will be the health care sector, which will expand by about 3.4 per cent annually over the next two years.
  • Growth in the health care sector will stem from solid population gains and ongoing expansion in major sectors such as public administration and education. Workers in these industries normally have coverage for health services not typically covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, such as dental care.

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