Provincial Outlook

Updated: April 15, 2021  |  Français

Vaccines and a recovery in energy, tourism, and exports boost provincial economic activity.

The development and rollout of effective vaccines against COVID-19 has provided optimism that an end to the health crisis is in sight, and that is lifting battered economies all around the world out of the steepest recession in modern times.

The rollout of vaccines started this past December in Canada, and the expectation is that a majority of the population will be immunized by September 2021. However, there are some downside risks to that assumption, as the rollout of vaccines stalled in January and February due to difficulties in obtaining supply from Europe.

Contents of the Provincial Outlook:

  • National overview
  • Provincial overview

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Woman sitting on dock looking at sunset; freight ship

Key findings

The decline in economic activity in Atlantic Canada last year was lessened somewhat by the region’s ability to limit the spread of COVID-19. This helped P.E.I., for example, to emerge from the pandemic in better economic shape than Central Canada even though it is heavily dependent on the hard hit tourism sector.

The provinces that recorded the smallest declines in economic activity last year will have weaker recoveries in 2021. Conversely, Alberta will enjoy the largest increase in real GDP in 2021 as its plunge of 7.7 per cent in economic activity last year sets the stage for a bigger recovery.

Every province will record a sharp rebound in real GDP growth this year as the rollout of vaccines leads to a gradual lifting of provincial restrictions on economic activity and travel. The recovery will also receive a boost from pent-up demand and the fact that millions of Canadians who managed to keep their jobs ramped up their savings.

GM’s recent decision to ramp up investment in Ontario’s auto sector over the near term will help the recovery there.

Issue briefings

Provincial two-year outlooks

British Columbia

Major Projects Off to a Slow Start This Year

11-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Alberta

A Better Year Ahead for Alberta’s Oil Industry

13-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Saskatchewan

Brighter Days Ahead for the Land of the Living Skies

10-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Manitoba

Its Diversified Economy Will Help Manitoba Cope

10-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Ontario

Vaccines Spur Recovery Hopes Ontario’s Two-Year Outlook

10-min read  |  Apr 15, 2021

Quebec

Amid Curfews and Closures, Vaccines Offer a Path to Recovery

15-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

New Brunswick

Avoiding the Worst of the Pandemic

10-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Nova Scotia

Major Projects Boost Nova Scotia’s Economic Recovery

14-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Prince Edward Island

Atlantic Bubble Has Burst, but Bright Prospects Ahead

10-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021

Newfoundland & Labrador

A Softer Fall in 2020, a Modest Gain in 2021

11-min read  |  Mar 18, 2021


Previous release

Tough Times Ahead: Provincial Outlook—November 2020

Impact paper  |  25-min read
November 25, 2020

Previous two-year provincial outlooks

Alberta
Pandemic Leads to Leaner Industries, Fewer Workers

9-min read  |  Jan 11, 2021

Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Handling Pandemic Better Than Most Provinces

9-min read  |  Jan 11, 2021

Manitoba
Manitoba’s Economy Can’t Escape a Second-Wave Hit

9-min read  |  Jan 11, 2021

Ontario
Slow Path to Full Recovery Continues in Ontario

9-min read  |  Jan 11, 2021

Quebec
A Challenging Winter Season Ahead for Quebec

9-min read  |  Jan 18, 2021

Québec
Un hiver qui s’annonce difficile pour le Québec

11 min lecture  |  19 jan 2021

New Brunswick
A Tough Pandemic Entry Policy Pays Off

9-min read  |  Jan 11, 2021

Nova Scotia
The Worst Is Past—A Brighter Outlook for Nova Scotia’s Recovery

9-min read  |  Jan 11, 2021

Prince Edward Island
Growth Plummets, but Atlantic Bubble Helps the Island Avoid the Worst

9-min read  |  Dec 16, 2020

Newfoundland & Labrador
Did COVID-19 Crack the Atlantic Bubble?

9-min read  |  Jan 5, 2021