Osler Special Advisor Stephen Poloz discusses effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Canadian economy and navigating our way forward – MPAC Virtual Leader Chat

Stephen Poloz

Nov 4, 2020

Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, planning for the future at a time when that future is still very uncertain can be challenging. On October 28, 2020, Osler Special Advisor Stephen Poloz sat down to have a virtual discussion with Nicole McNeill, President and Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC), as part of an MPAC Virtual Leader Chat to share some of his views on navigating through the unknowable, including the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Canadian economy.

Throughout the virtual chat, Stephen, an internationally recognized economic policy leader and former Governor of the Bank of Canada, touched on a number of topics, including our current situation regarding the Canadian economy and where we stand now in the recovery process, discussing the concept of a K-shaped economic recovery to illustrate what the economy is going through, as well as where policy needs to focus to support people now and in their transition into a growth area of the economy.

He also explored what we have learned from history, which can help us navigate our way forward, and how our current situation differs from previous historic economic events, such as the 2008 downturn, explaining that 95% of the economy is behaving more or less normally. Stephen also shared his thoughts on government relief measures and debt being incurred, pointing out the importance of spending resources on initiatives that are growth enhancing regarding physical, digital and social infrastructure and looking at and investing in factors that can have a positive impact, such as ways to increase female labour force participation and interprovincial free trade. He also provided his views on the Canadian dollar and the impact of the pandemic on the Canadian and Ontario housing market in the long term and answered a number of participants’ questions.

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As the former Governor of the Bank of Canada, Stephen is subject to certain continuing restrictions that apply to his presentations and discussions. His remarks are his own personal views and do not represent the views of the Bank of Canada, his former office, the Government of Canada or any of its departments. His presentation has been based on data and information that are publicly available.