Every province took an economic hit in 2020, StatsCan says

By James Langton | May 3, 2021 | Last updated on May 3, 2021
2 min read
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Economic output took a hit throughout Canada last year, with the Yukon and Nunavut territories the only regions to escape unscathed, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

The national statistical agency reported that real GDP fell in every province (and in the Northwest Territories) in 2020 after the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Ontario accounted for the largest share of the decline at the national level (1.95 percentage points).

“For most provinces, the economic contraction in 2020 was the most severe observed in 40 years,” StatsCan noted.

“The impact on GDP varied across the country, reflecting differences in the extent to which new and continuing public health restrictions were imposed in the provinces and territories,” it said.

While Ontario was the largest contributor to the national drop in GDP, Alberta ranked second, as the combination of low global oil prices and the effects of the pandemic combined to damage its energy sector.

“Both goods-producing and services-producing industries contracted in every province. However, services-producing industries contributed more to the overall decline,” StatsCan reported.

The finance and insurance industries were one bright spot last year, as activity in that sector rose in all jurisdictions, StatsCan noted.

Additionally, real estate and residential construction increased in most regions, it said.

On the goods-producing side of the economy, activity “was generally more variable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction,” StatsCan reported.

The only regions that managed to generate growth in 2020 were the Yukon and Nunavut.

StatsCan reported that GDP grew by 1.1% in the Yukon, following 0.7% growth in 2019.

“Goods-producing industries advanced 25.7%, almost entirely as a result of large increases in gold and silver mining… and copper, nickel, lead and zinc ore mining,” it said.

In Nunavut, GDP rose by 3.5%, also powered by gold and silver, along with iron ore mining.

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James Langton

James is a senior reporter for Advisor.ca and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.