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BMO Blue Book: Wave of Pent-Up Demand on the Way
  • BMO Blue Book combines expertise of BMO's economists with information on business conditions from its bankers
  • Economic output expected to reach pre-COVID levels by end of the year

TORONTO, Feb. 24, 2021 /CNW/ - While the Canadian economy ran into a hurdle of COVID-19 second-wave lockdowns at the start of 2021, it is expected to rebound given monetary and fiscal stimulus combined with a wave of pent-up demand, according to the newly-released BMO Blue Book.

The BMO Blue Book, published by BMO Economics and Canadian Commercial Banking, combines the expertise of BMO's economists with that of its business bankers. The BMO Blue Book features an economic report for Canada at large and each province. This edition also features an outlook for six key business sectors: technology & innovation, agriculture, real estate finance, seniors housing, hospitality and transportation.  

The BMO Blue Book states that the Canadian economy is expected to rebound a solid 5.0 per cent this year, but the real gains will come after a first-quarter lull passes. "This year's growth will largely reverse the 5.4% decline seen in 2020, leaving output roughly at pre-COVID levels by the end of this year," said Doug Porter, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group.

"As the Bank for Business, we are committed to supporting our customers through these challenging times and helping to position them for sustained growth. The BMO Blue Book represents another part of our effort to provide specialized content and resources to help our business clients navigate the COVID-19 pandemic," said Nadim Hirji, Co-Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group.

"With this resource, our clients can dig into recovery related insights across some of the largest sectors driving the Canadian economy. We'll continue to look for opportunities to stand by our clients to support their needs and provide them with opportunities to bridge to recovery and facilitate their long-term growth," said Christine Cooper, Co-Head, Canadian Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group.

Provincial forecasts at-a-glance according to the BMO Blue Book:

Western Canada:

  • British Columbia is expected to lead the country in real GDP growth this year, with a 5.7% rebound expected. This firm recovery comes in part because the province has not had to implement tough measures to start the year.
  • Alberta is still grappling with various measures, but they are set to be rolled back, and the better-than-expected oil price backdrop is encouraging. Real GDP is expected to rebound 5.1%, while business confidence has improved more than anywhere else in Canada in recent months.


  • Saskatchewan should benefit from an improved energy-price environment, with a growth rate of 4.4%.
  • Manitoba is traditionally the most stable economy on the provincial landscape, with a diverse industry base providing a cushion. While the province has underperformed given challenging COVID case trends forcing more aggressive containment measures, the economy should still grow 4.6% this year.

Central Canada:

  • With the largest urban centre, Ontario has struggled more than most with the shape of its COVID curve, longer first-wave lockdowns, and now second-wave restrictions in most regions. Torrid housing and consumer spending performances should cushion the blow, even as impacted Main Street businesses continue to struggle and limit the rebound to 5.0%. As vaccination becomes more widespread later in the year, look for Ontario to lead the recovery.
  • Quebec has struggled heavily with COVID cases which prompted aggressive lockdowns last year, which have persisted into February. As a result, it will likely underperform with 4.8% growth this year, but should come back stronger in the second half of the year.

Atlantic Canada:

  • Atlantic Canada fared very well on the COVID front on a relative basis, but much of the regional economy is nevertheless impacted. The 'Atlantic Bubble' has been a success from a health care perspective, but has hurt activity in a number of sectors (such as travel & tourism) that depend on flows from other regions. Longer term, a population boom had spurred above-potential economic growth in the region pre-pandemic, and it remains to be seen when those flows will return.

The BMO Blue Book can be downloaded at:

About BMO Financial Group 
Serving customers for 200 years and counting, BMO is a highly diversified financial services provider - the 8th largest bank, by assets, in North America. With total assets of $973 billion as of January 31, 2021, and a team of diverse and highly engaged employees, BMO provides a broad range of personal and commercial banking, wealth management and investment banking products and services to more than 12 million customers and conducts business through three operating groups: Personal and Commercial Banking, BMO Wealth Management and BMO Capital Markets.

SOURCE BMO Financial Group

For further information: For News Media Inquiries: James DeCosimo, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Peter Scott, Toronto,, (416) 867-3996; Internet:; Twitter: @BMOMedia