Inclement weather in January slowed down economic growth in Canada as GDP rose 0.1 per cent. (Black Press Media File)

COVID-19 has been impacting Canadian economy since January

But full effects of pandemic won’t be known for months

COVID-19 was impacting Canada’s economy before the current crisis, according to new figures from Statistics Canada, which predicts that the current pandemic “will significantly affect economic activity in March and subsequent months.”

While the future release of economic data should come with the addendum BC (Before COVID-19), figures measuring economic growth in January already bear the imprint of the coronavirus.

Real domestic growth in Canada rose 0.1 per cent in January, as inclement weather in many parts of the country, including British Columbia, labour unrest in Ontario and declining oil prices dampened economic growth across parts of the country and key sectors like energy.

Looming in the background already were the early effects of COVID-19. “In January, effects such as reduced trade with China and advisories against non-essential travel to China affected potential growth,” reads the accompanying analysis of the new figures.

Transportation and warehousing, an industry dependent on trade, also declined in January, dropping 1.7 per cent for the second time in three months. “Air transportation declined 2.7 per cent, as movement of both goods and passengers decreased,” it read. “Mid-January winter storms across many parts of the country caused multiple delays and cancellations at Canada’s busiest airports. The “rapid spread” of COVID-19 leading to travel advisories in the latter part of January coupled with a computer system problem at one of Canada’s largest air carriers also depressed trade.

RELATED: WestJet extends international flight suspensions into May amid COVID-19 pandemic

Mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction had also been declining in January 2020 before suffering additional declines in the face of a global supply war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and declining demand for oil amid slowing economic growth and travel.

The spread of COVID-19 and the responses by various governments (travel restrictions, bans on various kinds of events and activities) have only intensified these trend lines, and Statistics Canada does not paint a pretty picture without citing specific figures.

“Because of these factors, as well as supply chain disruptions for many types of goods, temporary closures of non-essential stores and service providers and the recent lowering of interest rates, the economic effects of the coronavirus outbreak will be deeply felt in subsequent months,” it read.

Statistics Canada implicitly acknowledges that January figures appear in a different context in light of current development, but nonetheless sees value in them.

“While the landscape of the Canadian and world economy has shifted since January, data from the beginning of the year are important in monitoring when and where changes occur over the following months,” it read. “As such, this release and the detailed industry summary serves as a baseline of the Canadian economy for measuring the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on various industries in the coming months.”


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Coronavirus

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

Just Posted

City of Duncan, North Cowichan reopening municipal ha

North Cowichan’s municipal hall will reopen on June 15, but for tax payments only.

Preparing to welcome students back to school

It’ll be a short and very different return

Put money into addressing causes of flooding

The real issue is Somenos Creek being totally silted up

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Small businesses in Saltair change with the times

Pandemic creates creative thinking to remain in operation

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

UPDATE: Woman airlifted with serious injuries, baby OK after crash in Nanaimo

Collision happened on Jingle Pot Road in East Wellington on Saturday afternoon

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Most Read