Pandemic Reshapes Economic Picture for Canadian Cities

OTTAWA, May 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In The Conference Board of Canada’s latest Major Cities Insights report, released today, the similarities and differences in how local economies will weather the pandemic are emerging. The report forecasts key economic indicators for 13 Canadian cities from 2020 through to 2024.

Travel restrictions and social distancing measures are having an impact in all major cities. Job losses are affecting income and consumer confidence—providing a blow to spending on accommodations, retail and restaurants in every location. Population growth and new home construction are also being affected across the board.

While all cities will be affected by the pandemic, there are regional differences in the economic outlooks based on local sectors and pre-pandemic conditions.

Edmonton and Calgary will be most impacted by energy sector production curtailments and the low price of oil. Construction, manufacturing, utilities, and technical services sectors will contract in both metropolitan areas this year as a result.

Cities with higher public sector employment will fare slightly better than others. For example, Ottawa’s large public service sector will help retain some jobs in the area as will most cities’ publicly funded healthcare industries.

Social distancing mandated in response to the pandemic will slash output in Vancouver’s accommodation and food services industry by 41.3 per cent and its arts and entertainment industries by nearly 18 per cent.

Todd Crawford, Associate Director, Economic Forecasting:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a drastic toll on the Canadian economy, and no region of the country will escape its negative impacts. All major metropolitan economies are forecast to contract in 2020. However, assuming the virus’ spread is contained, and firms can return to normal operations over the summer months, a recovery should begin in the second half of the year leading to sharp rebounds coast-to-coast in 2021.”

To access all of the 13 cities, please visit:

Major City Insights Pandemic Reshapes Economic Picture for Canadian Cities

Chart: Real GDP Growth (per cent)

City 2020 2021–24
Ottawa -2.4 2.6
Victoria -2.8 2.8
Vancouver -3.0 3.2
Toronto -3.0 3.2
Hamilton -3.2 2.8
Québec City -3.3 2.6
Halifax -3.4 3.0
Winnipeg -3.5 2.8
Montréal -3.6 2.7
Regina -4.6 3.3
Saskatoon -4.9 3.4
Calgary -5.5 4.3
Edmonton -5.6 4.3

Source: The Conference Board of Canada

About the report

The Metropolitan Outlook provides our five-year forecast and insights into the economies of Canada’s 13 largest census metropolitan areas. The report is available to media for editorial purposes and our team of economists are accessible for comment and interviews; please email for inquiries and to access the report.

About The Conference Board of Canada

The Conference Board of Canada is Canada’s foremost independent applied research organization. We equip leaders and decision-makers with the economic reports, custom research, data, networks, and events they need to solve our country’s most pressing challenges. Our focus areas include Canadian EconomicsEnergy & EnvironmentInnovation & TechnologyImmigration and more.