Canadian Manufacturing

B.C., Ontario lead Canadian growth forecast while Alberta goes negative

Provincial outlook for 2016 shows mixed results expected across country

OTTAWA—With a weaker loonie and a still struggling commodity market, Canada’s 10 provincial economies are facing a range of trajectories in 2016.

Despite remaining concerns for the country’s economic outlook, however, Alberta is the only province expected to post negative growth this year. According to the Conference Board of Canada’s latest winter 2016 forecast, the province will shed just over one per cent of its GDP throughout 2016.

On the other end of the spectrum, British Columbia will maintain its top spot among the drivers of growth.

“British Columbia posted the strongest economic growth last year and, thanks to widespread gains, is expected to lead the provincial growth rankings over the next two years,” Marie-Christine Bernard, associate director of the think tank’s Provincial Forecast, said.

B.C. is expected to add 2.7 per cent to its GDP this year, though uncertainties about its potential LNG industry remain significant.

The country’s most populous province, meanwhile, is also forecast to remain on track. After growing at an average rate of 2.5 per cent throughout the last two years, Ontario is expected to record 2.4 per cent growth in 2016—largely thanks to the lower Canadian dollar and stronger U.S. growth—both factors that help the province’s export market.

Quebec will also benefit from stronger exports, and its economy is expected to inch ahead 1.7 per cent.

In Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia is the only province expected to post an economic gain of more than 2 per cent this year. P.E.I.’s GDP is forecast to grow at 1.7 per cent, while New Brunswick will add 0.6 per cent. The Conference Board expects growth to be flat in Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Canada’s Prairie, Manitoba is expected to see growth of 2.3 per cent in 2016, while Saskatchewan will struggle. Coping with its exposure to the low oil price environment, and on the heels of a 2.8 per cent contraction in 2015, the province will post 0.7 per cent growth over the course of the year.

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