How recession in Canada could impact your work, real estate


Many economists say a light recession is on the playing cards as they look forward to 2023.

Though loads of Canadians keep in mind residing by way of a recession or two, for thousands and thousands of others will probably be the primary main downturn in their grownup lives. Some are in their late 20s, maybe pondering of shopping for a home or already householders. Others are new graduates, getting into rising into aggressive job markets.

The phrase “recession” probably brings to thoughts the upheaval of 2008-09, when the worldwide monetary disaster triggered a seven-month recession in Canada and a prolonged restoration, moderately than the short-lived downturn from the early days of the pandemic.

A recession is normally outlined by two successive quarters of damaging GDP progress. Experts are saying a light recession is the almost definitely state of affairs for 2023, although a extra typical recession isn’t out of the query.

No two financial downturns are alike. Here’s how this one could have an effect on you.


Normally central banks slash rates of interest throughout recessions, however that’s unlikely to occur in 2023, mentioned BMO economist Sal Guatieri. The Bank of Canada has made it clear that it’ll proceed to boost charges till it could rein in inflation, which stays effectively above the financial institution’s two per cent goal.

So whereas dwelling costs will probably maintain dropping because the recession additional aggravates downward strain available on the market, the price of borrowing received’t go down with them, Guatieri mentioned.

Anyone set to resume their mortgage in the subsequent yr or extra will probably be in for a nasty bump in their month-to-month funds, mentioned David Macdonald, senior economist on the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

“Housing is going to become a lot more expensive for most people.”

Some individuals might resolve to carry off on shopping for for the primary time, mentioned Laurie Campbell, director of shopper monetary wellness at Bromwich+Smith.

“That pushes more people into the rental market,” she mentioned, placing upward strain on lease costs.

Though rents have skyrocketed in 2022, recessions usually harm householders greater than renters, mentioned Guatieri, predicting that strain on lease costs will subside in 2023. 

“The environment for the next six to nine months does favour renters because not only will the economic weakness slow the rate of rent increases, but ultimately by pushing house prices down further, it will allow renters to get into the housing market.”


Employees have been in an excellent bargaining place this yr, mentioned Macdonald. There had been greater than one million job vacancies in the second quarter of 2022, in line with Statistics Canada, up from round 732,000 the yr earlier than and virtually twice as many as pre-pandemic.

But that could change.

In a light recession, widespread layoffs are unlikely and far of the contraction will probably be in job vacancies, mentioned Guatieri. If the economic system strikes right into a extra conventional recession, nonetheless, layoffs will go up extra considerably, he mentioned.

Either manner, employees will lose the bargaining energy they not too long ago gained, mentioned Macdonald.

“That is the sort of thing that you would see in a labour market that’s much weaker, where the balance of power shifts towards the employer.”

With excessive inflation, employees have been involved with getting raises, whether or not at their present jobs, or by way of new positions, mentioned Campbell.

But heading right into a recession, “people are going to be more concerned about keeping their job,” she mentioned.

New graduates could really feel the results of a recessionary job market over the long run, Macdonald mentioned.

“If you happen to graduate into a recession, you may have long-term scarring effects, where you never make as much over the entirety of your lifetime as somebody who graduated in a very strong job market,” he mentioned.


Non-necessities are the very first thing to go from family budgets when financial instances get robust, mentioned Campbell — restaurant meals, motion pictures, every day coffees or expensive holidays.

However, not each household has room to chop in the primary place, she mentioned. Some individuals could also be compelled to chop corners on the grocery retailer, or make robust choices for different crucial bills like housing.

Small enterprise homeowners are in for one more troublesome interval after rising from the pandemic, mentioned Guatieri, and a few might not survive a interval of rising prices and cautious client spending.

As discretionary spending on issues like meals and leisure goes down, employees in these sectors may even see their hours lower, mentioned Macdonald. As is usually the case, precarious and low-income employees will be the first to really feel the results of financial contraction, in half due to the impact on these sectors.

“The people that work in those areas are more at risk,” he mentioned.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 14, 2022.


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