Data from Statistics Canada suggests Canada’s economy appears to have suffered its worst year on record. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Data from Statistics Canada suggests Canada’s economy appears to have suffered its worst year on record. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang)

Canada’s economy likely suffered its worst year on record, shrank by 5%: StatsCan

The flash estimate is worse than 1982 when the economy contracted by 3.2 per cent

Canada’s economy appears to have suffered its worst year on record as the national statistics agency’s preliminary estimate showed a contraction of 5.1 per cent in 2020.

The flash estimate, which has yet to be finalized, is worse than 1982 when the economy contracted by 3.2 per cent, which was the worst over the course of six decades of comparable data.

Not even at the height of the global financial crisis just over a decade ago were things as bad as they were last year when the real gross domestic product fell 2.9 per cent in 2009.

Statistics Canada said it expects to finalize the numbers in the coming weeks.

The drop is largely due to steep declines in March and April as large swaths of the economy were shut down during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, economic activity has slowly and steadily grown.

Statistics Canada said Friday the economy grew 0.7 per cent in November, marking the seventh straight month of gains after the steep drops in the spring. The growth followed a 0.4 per cent increase in October.

It also came with the backdrop of positive news about vaccines and a presidential election south of the border where Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump.

Stock market activity increased as market sentiments improved, as the finance and insurance sector grew by 1.3 per cent in November.

READ MORE: Canadian economy lost 63,000 jobs in Dec., first decline since April

Mining saw an increase in demand for things like potash and non-metallic minerals. Likewise, the oil and gas sector saw gains as facilities in Alberta restarted production.

The retail sector was up by 1.1 per cent in November, including growth of 6.1 per cent in the food and beverage subsector that Statistics Canada attributes to higher activity in grocery stores, along with a boost in business for beer, wine and liquor stores.

The agency also said its preliminary estimate for December shows growth of 0.3 per cent, even as much of the country headed into heavy restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and jobs were lost.

The preliminary estimate for the fourth quarter shows an annualized growth rate of 7.8 per cent.

CIBC senior economist Royce Mendes wrote that the figures suggest the economy healed more than expected in the final months of 2020.

“That said, the economy will only be able to outrun the second wave of the virus for so long,” Mendes says in a note.

“With unemployment rising in December and public health officials being forced to tighten restrictions even further in January, the situation likely became more dire in the new year.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vaseux Lake. Grant Harder photo.
Letter: Why can’t we have motorized boats on Vaseux Lake?

Avid fisherman with a disability would love to use his pontoon

This elevated boardwalk will be replaced at the Osoyoos Desert Centre. (courtesy of the Osoyoos Desert Centre)
Funding to replace Osoyoos Desert Centre’s elevated boardwalk is ‘dream come true’

The 1.5 km boardwalk and trail is enjoyed by over 10,000 visitors annually

Wills Hodgkinson, 10, and his mom Neeley Brimer get ready to battle round three of cancer. The community of Penticton has his back. (Submitted)
Community raises $21K to help Penticton boy battle third round of cancer

Okanoggin Barbers held the fundraiser on Saturday for 10-year-old Wills Hodgkinson

The Okanagan’s first virtual wedding fair will be held Saturday, March 27. {Paul Rodgers photo)
Okanagan to host virtual wedding fair

Okanagan wine country is No. 1 destination for weddings - online event set for March 27

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

(Contributed)
Kelowna flight potentially exposed to COVID-19

Third case on a local flight this month, compared to 14 through January

Vernon Search and Rescue, with help from the Air Rescue One helicopter out of Wildcat Helicopters in Kelowna, and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue, were able to transport an injured snowmobiler to Vernon Regional Airport, where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to Vernon Jubilee Hospital with a serious, painful back injury. (Facebook photo)
Okanagan helicopter rescue teams called to retrieve injured sledder at Greystokes

Vernon and Central Okanagan Search and Rescue help load injured man into waiting helicopter

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Chase RCMP held two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight in their detachment’s cells on Feb. 6. (File Photo)
Chase RCMP hold two men involved in drunken disturbances overnight

The two separate incidents took place less than an hour apart.

Kamloops Fire Rescue battled a landfill fire which belched toxic smoke into the air on Feb. 27. (City of Kamloops Photo)
Fire at Kamloops landfill sends thick black smoke into the air

Firefighters made slow progress on the fire throughout the morning.

Most Read