Canadian Economics

The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s largest private economic analysis and forecasting unit. Key services include medium- and long-term outlooks on the national, provincial/territorial, metropolitan, and industrial economies, as well as custom economic analysis and forecasting. We are here to help leaders cut through the noise and make informed decisions to build the Canada of tomorrow.

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Recent releases

Widespread Sales Easing as Buyers Reassess Market Prospects: Metropolitan Resale Snapshot

Canada's existing housing markets throttled back further in June. Sales and listings both dropped in many areas, and price growth began to ease. Falling sales may reflect some buyers' decision to wait for markets to settle while enjoying society's reopening from COVID-19—although falling listings also limit consumer choice. Low interest rates continue to be supportive.

Online experience  |  8-min read
July 29, 2021

Expectations for Housing Starts Largely Holding Course: Metropolitan Housing Starts

There are only six census metropolitan areas (CMAs) with positive short- and long-term expectations this month, the same number as last month. These are the CMAs in the up-up quadrant.

Online experience  | 8-min read
July 29, 2021

Confidence in July Continued to Rally High: Index of Consumer Confidence

Thanks mainly to Ontarians and Quebecers’ improving confidence this month, the index started to trend above its pre-COVID-19 level. With more pandemic restrictions easing across the country in July, Canadians are increasingly confident about their current financial situations and feeling good about making big purchases. This points to consumers’ positive sentiments finally coming back after the third wave. We expect that this confidence will be reflected in robust household consumption this summer.

Online experience  |  8-min read
July 29, 2021

Economic recovery in sight after turbulent year: Major City Insights

As Canada’s vaccine rollout increases, the economy and labour markets of many cities will pick up steam—potentially to pre-pandemic levels—in the second half of 2021. And as provinces open for travel, the future looks brighter for restaurants and non-essential businesses.

Online experience  |  8-min read
July 29, 2021

Inflation slipped back but still hot

Inflation slipped in June, partly due to a reweighting of the basket of consumer goods. The growth of gasoline prices is slowing and prices on food and clothing are cooling too. Elevated housing prices, however, continued to be the main upward contributor to last month’s inflation. We expect that inflation will trend around 3 per cent for the rest of 2021, as a result of ongoing supply shortage issues and increasing consumer demand.

Quick take  |  2-min read
July 28, 2021

Booming Economy Not Without Its Risks: Canadian Outlook

The rollout of vaccines got off to a slow start in Canada but has picked up steam in the spring. Currently, about two-thirds of Canadians are either fully or partially vaccinated. Consequently, Canada is well on its way to attaining herd immunity. The increase in vaccinations has enabled provinces to loosen restrictions and life is slowly returning to some semblance of normalcy.

Online experience  |  8-min read
July 27, 2021

Recovery on solid ground, but inflation on the rise: Survey of Forecasters

The sharp rebound in economic growth this year will be led by all sectors of the economy, including consumers, business investment, government spending, and international trade. The housing sector will provide the largest boost to the economy. Due to rock-bottom interest rates and the desire for larger dwellings in less-populated parts of the country, housing markets shrugged off the effects of the pandemic last year as starts increased from 209,000 in 2019 to 218,000.

Online experience  |  8-min read
July 26, 2021

Bank of Canada tapers bond purchases while expecting inflation to remain elevated in the short-term

Today’s announcement from the Bank of Canada reflects its confidence in the strength of the Canadian economy. Holding policy interest rate steady, while reducing weekly net purchases of federal bonds, is an important step in our economic recovery. We anticipate CPI inflation to remain before easing next year, while the Bank is expected to keep interest rates steady until the 2 per cent inflation target is sustainably achieved.

Quick take  | 2-min read
July 14, 2021

Economic Recovery Underway, but Third Wave Hinders Some Provinces: Provincial Outlook

Expectations for a solid economic recovery in Canada this year are linked to rising vaccination rates and the gradual reopening of the economy. The surge in new COVID-19 cases last autumn continued in the early part of this year and led to a return of strict lockdowns in many parts of the country.

Online experience  |  8-min read
July 14, 2021

Reopening of the economy sparks restart of the labour market recovery

As economic restrictions across much of Canada began to ease, the labour market responded with solid employment gains concentrated in sectors where the restrictions have been most punishing. Improvements in several high-contact service industries drove growth in part-time employment and provided welcome job growth among young and female workers.

Quick take  |  3-min read
July 9, 2021

Real GDP falls for first time since pandemic began

April saw the first monthly contraction in real GDP since last year’s decline at the outset of the pandemic. Output fell, month-over-month. Statistics Canada expects output to drop in May. We anticipate that many of the hardest-hit sectors will show a bounce back in June, with our latest national forecast calling for growth in real GDP in the second quarter.

Quick take  | 3-min read
June 30, 2021

Global recovery likely to drive demand for commodities produced in Canadian territories: Territorial Outlook

There are reasons to be optimistic as the territories emerge into a post-COVID-19 world. As the global economy bounces back over the coming years, so too will demand for commodities produced in Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon.

Online experience  |  8-min read
June 28, 2021

Retailers had a difficult spring, but better days are ahead

Today’s Statistics Canada release showed that retail sales fell in April, posting their first decline since December of last year. With provincial governments implementing more stringent lockdown measures throughout the month, the results are hardly surprising. And given that restrictions mostly remained in place during May, most retailers have endured a difficult spring.

Quick take  |  3-min read
June 23, 2021

Inflation hits a decade high

Inflation accelerated again in May, due mainly to “base effects” on gasoline prices which recovered from the plunge last spring. Higher prices for consumer goods, including cars, new homes and food also contributed to the strong inflation figure last month. Going forward, we expect strong consumer spending coupled with supply shortages will keep inflation hot for the rest of 2021.

Quick take  | 2-min read
June 16, 2021

Pandemic’s Lingering Effects Will Haunt Canada’s Long-Term Prospects: Canada’s Outlook to 2040

Canada’s immediate economic prospects have improved since our last long-term update in December 2020, as the rollout of vaccines has boosted business and household confidence. At the same time, labour markets are quickly recovering many of the jobs lost due to the pandemic last year. Overall, we expect real GDP to expand in 2021 and in 2022.

Online experience  |  8-min read
June 15, 2021

Pandemic Causing Widespread Disruption: Industry Lens

COVID-19 is challenging many Canadian industries in an unprecedented way. As businesses across the country try to adapt, our Industry Lens reports look deeply into the latest developments affecting Canadian industries.

Online experience  |  2-min read
June 10, 2021

Bank of Canada continues to hold rates steady until inflation objective is met

The Bank of Canada held its policy interest rate steady while continuing its weekly net purchases of Government of Canada bonds with a target of $3 billion per week. CPI inflation is around the top of the 1-3 per cent target range but the Bank expects that to ease in the second half of the year.

Quick Take  |  2-min read
June 9, 2021

Further job losses in May as third wave lingers

The employment declines captured in May’s labour force survey results reflect the lingering impact of the third wave of the pandemic in Canada. However, the severity of the losses is reduced compared to the previous month indicating the peak of the wave has passed.

Quick take  |  3-min read
June 4, 2021

Canada’s First Quarter GDP Rises 1.4%

Following two months of solid gains, real GDP rose in March, posting a monthly gain of 1.1 per cent. Overall, the economy forged ahead in the first quarter of the year, supported by strong household and government spending, residential construction and growth in exports. The growth in March is a testament to the resilience of the Canadian economy to perform well when pandemic measures are eased.

Quick take  | 4-min read
June 2, 2021

Growing Canada’s Exports in a More Insular World

In 2020, Canada’s real exports plunged, as the global pandemic led to a collapse in demand from all of its major trading partners. The recovery in the global economy, attributable to the widespread distribution of vaccines and a reopening of economies, will help Canada’s exports rebound growth this year and in 2022.

Impact paper  |  24-min read
May 27, 2021

Business confidence continues to climb: Index of Business Confidence

In The Conference Board of Canada’s latest survey of business leaders, business confidence continued its upward trend. Since falling to historic lows in 2020, business confidence has now reached its highest level since mid-2018. With the COVID-19 vaccine campaign ramping up nationally, our survey results indicate that businesses are ready to start spending on capital when the time is right.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 26, 2021

Volatile oil prices push inflation to 10-year high

Inflation spiked in April, due mainly to a rebound in oil prices in the past 12 months as well as the surge in new home prices. We expect that inflation will remain hot in May given the plunge in prices that occurred in the early stage of the pandemic last year. A recovery in global demand for resources and strengthening consumer spending at home, will be the main contributors to inflation going forward.

Quick take  | 3-min read
May 19, 2021

Manufacturing sales grow in March

The results from March’s Survey of Manufacturing brings signs of progress across a sector that has suffered in the wake of economic restrictions, delays in global shipping and shortages of key production inputs over the preceding months.

Quick take  | 3-min read
May 14, 2021

Vaccines to the Rescue: World Outlook

World economic activity slowed sharply toward the end of last year in many regions due to a resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic and the reimposition of lockdown restrictions. However, the rollout of vaccines in many countries and massive fiscal and monetary stimulus, especially in the U.S., should result in a gain in world GDP of this year and 2022.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 13, 2021

Canada’s labour market hit by third wave of COVID-19

April’s Labour Force Survey shows the impact that tightening COVID-19 measures are having on employment in Canada. The third wave of the pandemic dealt a heavy blow to jobs in Ontario, with schools and stores forced to close. However, with the rollout of vaccines underway, we expect employment to bounce back as we have seen in the past once restrictions are eased.

Quick take  | 3-min read
May 7, 2021

Toronto’s Global Financial Centre: Driving Economic Growth

Toronto’s financial centre is vital to the Canadian economy—providing jobs, growing GDP, and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises during the pandemic. Total employment in Toronto’s financial sector is ranked second in North America and eighth globally.

Online experience  |  8-min read
May 4, 2021

Canada’s GDP growth continued in February as third wave loomed

As national vaccinations started to pick-up in February, real GDP grew by 0.4 per cent month-over-month. With Statistics Canada’s preliminary estimate for growth in March, first quarter output will likely be higher than expected in our most recent national forecast. Yet recent surges in new cases of COVID-19 reversed the loosening of restrictions in many provinces in April. We therefore expect that growth may have cooled off in recent weeks.

Quick take  |  3-min read
April 30, 2021

Space to Grow: Job Transitions in Ontario’s Tourism and Hospitality Industry

Tourism and hospitality is one of Ontario’s key economic drivers. In 2019, the sector employed over 620,000 Ontarians and generated nearly $21 billion in labour income. Before the pandemic-related disruptions, employment in the sector had been stable and sustainable. However, Ontario’s labour market is steadily evolving and, for some tourism and hospitality workers, this evolution has led to job losses, and the COVID-19 pandemic has increased and accelerated these pressures.

Impact Paper  |  15-min read
April 23, 2021
Client—Future Skills Centre

Strong recovery in oil prices spurs inflation in March

Inflation surged due to a strong rebound in consumer prices this March compared to extremely low prices in the year earlier period. Rising oil and housing prices were two of the main contributors to the strength in inflation. Given subdued consumer prices last spring, we expect that inflation will continue to trend above 2.0 per cent in the coming months.

Quick take  |  3-min read
April 21, 2021

Bank of Canada holds rates steady while making cuts to its quantitative easing program

Despite a stronger than expected economic performance in the first quarter of 2021, the Bank of Canada held its policy interest rate steady and announced that its weekly net purchases of Government of Canada bonds will be reduced to a target of $3 billion.

Quick take  |  3-min read
April 21, 2021

Budget 2021: A Big Bet On Future Growth

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s inaugural budget is intended to transform the economy by favouring vaccine rollouts and economic recovery in the near term and focusing on the labour force, green technology, and education over the long-term. While good intentioned, the fiscal roadmap outlined by the Liberal government will come at a cost to Canadians.

Op-ed  |  4-min read
April 20, 2021

Surge in Growth Linked to Vaccines and Ongoing Government Stimulus: US Outlook

The U.S. economy is set to expand this year on the heels of a 3.5 per cent decline in 2020. Next year, a solid gain is anticipated. One of the main factors driving the rebound is the massive $1.9-trillion stimulus package recently implemented by the Biden administration. The stimulus provides funds for individual families, state and local governments, health care, and the delivery of vaccinations, among other things.

Online experience  |  2-min read
April 19, 2021

All on Board: Does Disclosure Help Create More Inclusive Boardrooms?

Canadian governments, corporate stakeholders, and advocacy organizations sought to use disclosure to accelerate women’s representation. Disclosure is a regulatory approach that requires companies to: (1) disclose the number of women on their boards and (2) disclose the efforts they have made (or not) to increase that representation.

Impact paper  |  30-min read
April 14, 2021

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