New Year’s revelations: Contemplating the Canadian economic playbook for 2021 and beyond

Watch the full recorded broadcast above.

Along with the rest of the world, Canadians are eagerly looking ahead to a fresh start in 2021. But, what does the New Year have in store for Canada, our economy, and our future prospects?

In collaboration with the Lawrence National Centre at Ivey Business School and the Ivey Alumni Network Ottawa Chapter, we welcomed Stephen S. Poloz, former Governor of the Bank of Canada, to have a conversation about Canada’s current economic climate, policy priorities, and what it all might mean for Canada’s long-term prosperity. Mr. Poloz was joined by Paul Wells, senior writer for Maclean’s and Lawrence National Centre fellow.

Key webinar content

Core topics

  • The characteristics of the Canadian economic recovery
  • Uncertainty regarding specific sector and industry bounce-backs
  • The role of banks in managing the stresses associated with the pandemic
  • Inflation and deflation
  • The disconnect between the stock market and the economy
  • Canada’s debt burden and the ability to service it
  • The direction the federal government has taken over the past year
  • Inclusive growth
  • Unlocking Canada’s natural competitive advantages
  • Canada’s strengths and weaknesses in digital, trade, and social infrastructure
  • Is deglobalization an inevitable feature of our future?
  • How much will Canada’s economy, trade, international relations, and human capital be impacted by the policies of the incoming American president?
  • The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on vulnerable populations and the gig economy
  • The future of Canada’s energy sector and the pressure to meet emissions targets
  • Competition in Canada’s financial and telecommunications sectors
  • Will virtual meetings fall by the wayside once it’s safe for people to be together again?

Memorable quotes

“On a GDP basis, the economy is pretty well 97 per cent of where it was last February. That’s pretty much a recovery, isn’t it?” – Stephen Poloz

“The main thing is we have really low interest rates. Debt service today as a share of GDP is about one-fifth of what it was in the mid-1990s, when we last had some tension around debt and our fiscal situation here in Canada. What that means is if economic growth is faster than the rate of interest, then the base you’re taxing keeps growing faster than your interest payments, and gradually your debt declines as a share of GDP and your ability to finance it.” – Stephen Poloz

“The stock of debt will be large, just like after World War II. Historical precedence tells us it’s the ability to service it, to work, to pay taxes, and grow the economy that matters.” – Stephen Poloz

“We can’t even achieve free trade between provinces. We think that would be worth over $100 billion of free income every single year. Why can’t we do these things?” – Stephen Poloz

“I think it’s conceivable we could do it all without actually raising taxes per se. You just focus on policies that add to growth. My favourites are things like universal daycare, which would increase labour force participation by women.” – Stephen Poloz

Additional reading

Federal debt is manageable with GDP growth, Poloz says, The Globe and Mail
The most important Canadian economic graphs for the year ahead, Maclean’s
Will Canadians spend their mountain of saved cash to rescue the economy?, Financial Post
Economy 2021: The long-term impact on Canadian businesses, Human Resources Director
What shape will Canada’s economic recovery take?, The Globe and Mail

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About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

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