Your Business News

Canadian recession tracker: Preparing for landing

May 2, 2023

Authored by RSM Canada LLP

Edwin P. Reilly, CPA, CA shared this article

REAL ECONOMY BLOG | May 02, 2023

As the Bank of Canada tries to tame inflation and simultaneously guide the economy to a soft landing, most market participants are skeptical that it can pull off the feat.

After months of steep interest rate increases, the higher borrowing costs are only beginning to be felt in Canada’s real economy.

Our forecast puts the chance of a recession at 60% by the middle of the year.

A recession, albeit mild and brief, is likely. Our forecast puts the chance of a recession at 60% by the middle of the year, with the downturn hitting the economy unevenly.

We will not be able to determine if a recession has officially begun until the C.D. Howe Institute’s Business Cycle Council—an arbiter of business cycle dates in Canada—announces its decision.

It took the council, however, more than a year to officially announce the end of the most recent recession.

By replicating the criteria used to identify when a recession begins and ends, we can track the start and end dates much sooner. Here are the top indicators we can monitor, according to the council’s past reports: gross domestic product, job growth (from the payroll and labour force surveys), and industrial sales.

Canada recession tracker

The past two recessions featured sharp declines in the growth rates of all four indicators. Following the same analysis, the Canadian economy has not been in a recession since the pandemic as industrial sales and jobs have remained solid, especially in the first quarter of this year.

But the economy has shown signs of a slowdown as steep interest rate hikes continue to put pressure on borrowing costs and, as a result, investment.

We believe the Canadian economy will tip into a mild recession in by middle of the year when the full impact of rate hikes sinks in.

The United States and other Canadian trading partners will most likely experience some degree of downturns, adding more reasons to believe a recession is imminent.

We expect a mild and brief recession that will be spurred by restrictive monetary policies instead of by a problem with the structural foundation of the economy like what happened in 2008.

The Bank of Canada would be in a tougher position compared to 2008 because it would most likely not be able to cut rates aggressively when inflation is expected to remain around 3% by year’s end.

But it would still be a much easier job compared to the one faced by the Federal Reserve, which is struggling with higher inflation and the prospect of more rate hikes in the United States.

We still expect 40% of the economy to achieve a soft landing and avoid a recession. The key factor will again depend on the labour market, which can either sink or lift the economy almost single-handedly.

The takeaway

The Canadian economy is preparing for a period when there are likely to be more job losses than gains.

Like almost all other central banks in the world after the pandemic, the Bank of Canada has faced the difficult task of trying to balance economic growth with price stability. While we believe there will be some turbulence during the landing, the economic setbacks will most likely be tempered.

Let's Talk!

Call us at 1 855 363 3526 or fill out the form below and we'll contact you to discuss your specific situation.

  • Topic Name:
  • Should be Empty:

This article was written by Tuan Nguyen and originally appeared on 2023-05-02 RSM Canada, and is available online at

RSM Canada Alliance provides its members with access to resources of RSM Canada Operations ULC, RSM Canada LLP and certain of their affiliates (“RSM Canada”). RSM Canada Alliance member firms are separate and independent businesses and legal entities that are responsible for their own acts and omissions, and each are separate and independent from RSM Canada. RSM Canada LLP is the Canadian member firm of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms. Members of RSM Canada Alliance have access to RSM International resources through RSM Canada but are not member firms of RSM International. Visit for more information regarding RSM Canada and RSM International. The RSM trademark is used under license by RSM Canada. RSM Canada Alliance products and services are proprietary to RSM Canada.

FCR a proud member of RSM Canada Alliance, a premier affiliation of independent accounting and consulting firms across North America. RSM Canada Alliance provides our firm with access to resources of RSM, the leading provider of audit, tax and consulting services focused on the middle market. RSM Canada LLP is a licensed CPA firm and the Canadian member of RSM International, a global network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms with more than 43,000 people in over 120 countries.

Our membership in RSM Canada Alliance has elevated our capabilities in the marketplace, helping to differentiate our firm from the competition while allowing us to maintain our independence and entrepreneurial culture. We have access to a valuable peer network of like-sized firms as well as a broad range of tools, expertise, and technical resources.

For more information on how FCR can assist you, please call us at 1 855 363 3526

Important Notice:

FCR will now redirect you to CCH Portal where your FCR Client Portal login is located.

Share This