Media Releases Jan 20, 2021

Canadian Chamber of Commerce emphasizes importance of continued business supports as economy contracts in Q1


(OTTAWA) – January 20, 2021 – The Chief Economist and Vice President of Policy at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Trevin Stratton, issued the following statement today on the Bank of Canada’s Monetary Policy Report.

“As 2021 begins, Canada still faces powerful headwinds. COVID-19 numbers are up, restrictions on our activities remain and may even increase, and we face great economic uncertainty.

After a significant rebound in the second half of 2020, Canada’s economy once again faces a setback as it will contract by 2.5% in the first quarter of this year according the Bank of Canada’s latest projections. This marks the first quarterly contraction since the first wave of the pandemic in Q2 last year.

We will likely be in this phase well into March, when we expect the lockdowns to be eased across the country. During this period, we need to provide the right kind of support to individual Canadians and to businesses to get them through the lockdowns, recognizing that neither group is in the same financial position as it was in March 2020.

We need to ensure that both individuals and businesses can make it safely to the other side of the river. That means continuing programs like the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, safely reopening schools and ensuring that there is available childcare so people – particularly women — can return to work once restrictions are eased. It means improvements to rental subsidy programs and targeted support for the hardest hit sectors.

It will be important to understand that most small businesses can’t afford to take on more debt after all that they have accumulated over the last nine months. Indeed, even the tax and fee deferrals governments brought in last year, which have been so important, are in fact low-cost loans. They will still have to be repaid.

As a new wave of infections weighs on economic activity, Canada must ensure that businesses remain there to propel the economic rebound projected for later this year. Just as every downturn is first felt on Main Street when the lights begin to go out, every recovery starts when the open signs begin to reappear.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
ptaylor@chamber.ca (preferred and fastest response time)