The Economic Impact of the Fort McMurray Fires

The Conference Board of Canada, November 29, 2016
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In early May 2016, uncontrolled wildfires engulfed much of Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, leading to the evacuation of over 88,000 residents. The fires became the largest insured natural catastrophe ever recovered in Canada.

The fires had a significant negative economic impact in the short term on the region, province and country, but there will also be economic activity generated by rebuilding the Fort McMurray community.

A massive injection of funds from provincial and federal governments, as well as insurance companies will go towards the clean up and rebuilding effort in and around Fort McMurray. We estimate that $5.3 billion will be re-invested in Alberta’s economy over the next 3 years, of which $3.6 billion will be funded by the insurance industry through policyholder compensation.

In this special webinar, Pedro Antunes, Deputy Chief Economist of The Conference Board of Canada will present the economic and employment impacts of the Fort Murray wildfires.

Webinar Highlights

During this webinar, Pedro will take attendees through the details of our analysis:

  • Economic impact of the fires: Overall, we expect the impact of the wildfires to shave $456 million or 0.1 per cent off of real GDP in Alberta in 2016.
  • Cost to oil production: Oil production losses totalled around 47 million barrels and cost producers $1.4 billion in revenues in 2016.
  • Economic impact of the rebuilding effort: The rebuilding effort will increase Alberta’s real GDP by 0.4 per cent next year ($1.1 billion), 0.2 per cent in 2018, and 0.1 per cent in 2019.
  • Employment: Close to 16,000 person-years of employment will be generated between 2016 and 2019, peaking at about 9,000 jobs in 2017.

About Pedro

Photo of Pedro AntunesPedro Antunes is Executive Director, Economic Outlook and Analysis, and Deputy Chief Economist at The Conference Board of Canada. Pedro Antunes leads a team of economists responsible for the production of the Conference Board’s suite of economic forecast products, as well as other reports and economic indicators that relate to Canada and its regions. Mr. Antunes is a spokesperson for the Conference Board. He makes numerous presentations on economic topics and dialogues with Canadian leaders, the public and media about issues important to Canada.

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