Canadian Economic News, February 2022 Edition

This module provides a concise summary of selected Canadian economic events, as well as international and financial market developments by calendar month. It is intended to provide contextual information only to support users of the economic data published by Statistics Canada. In identifying major events or developments, Statistics Canada is not suggesting that these have a material impact on the published economic data in a particular reference month.

All information presented here is obtained from publicly available news and information sources, and does not reflect any protected information provided to Statistics Canada by survey respondents.

COVID-19 timeline

  • The Government of the Northwest Territories announced on February 1st it had extended the territory-wide Public Health Emergency until February 15th. On February 15th, the Public Health Emergency was extended until March 1st.
  • On February 2nd, the Government announced it had extended the State of Emergency in the City of Yellowknife until February 16th. On February 16th, the State of Emergency was extended until March 2nd.
  • The Government of Nunavut on February 3rd announced it had extended the territory's public health emergency until February 17th. On February 17th, the public health emergency was extended until March 3rd.
  • The Government of the Yukon announced on February 3rd it had extended the State of Emergency for up to 90 days.
  • The Government of Nova Scotia announced on February 4th it was renewing the state of emergency, effective February 6th, until February 20th. On February 18th, the Government extended the state of emergency until March 6th.

Selected COVID-19 responses

  • On February 1st, the Government of Quebec announced it was easing restrictions and that effective February 14th:
    • Indoor activities and classes will be permitted up to a maximum of 25 people per group and vaccination passport required;
    • Gymnasiums, spas, indoor golf facilities, and climbing centers may reopen up to 50% capacity and vaccination passport required; and
    • Extracurricular activities at the college and university levels as well as those in vocational training and adult education may also resume.
  • The Government also announced that restaurants will remain eligible for Assistance for businesses in regions on high alert (AERAM) for the month of February.
  • On February 8th, the Government announced that an easing of restrictions would gradually come into force and that:
    • Effective February 12th:
      • Capacity limits on gatherings inside private homes would be lifted; and
      • Restaurants could have a maximum of 10 people.
    • Effective February 14th:
      • End of health protocols for outdoor sports competitions;
      • Resumption of matches for all; and
      • Capacity of 5,000 people for outdoor shows, with the vaccination passport.
    • Effective February 21st:
      • Lifting of capacity limits in shops with vaccination passport required;
      • Reopening of recreational centers (e.g., arcades, water parks, amusement centers and parks, and other themed sites) with 50% capacity and vaccination passport required;
      • Resumption of assemblies and meetings with up to 50% capacity or a maximum of 500 people and vaccination passport required.
    • Effective February 28th:
      • End of compulsory telework;
      • Resumption of competitions and tournaments for all and vaccine passport required;
      • 100% capacity in performance halls, cinemas, and sports arenas;
      • Reopening of bars and casinos with up to 50% capacity; and
      • Restaurants end food and beverage service at midnight and close at 1 a.m.
  • The Government also said that by March 14th, most of the public health measures would be lifted.
  • On February 14th, the Government announced that from February 28th to April 4th, public service employees will gradually return to their workplace. The Government said presence will be compulsory for all staff for a minimum of two days per week.
  • On February 2nd, the Government of Manitoba announced that effective February 8th:
    • Private gatherings where everyone is fully vaccinated would be expanded to allow the household plus 25 others in indoor spaces and 50 people in outdoor spaces;
    • Sports and recreation tournaments allowed to resume; and
    • Liquor sales at licensed premised extended to 12 a.m.
  • The Government said the new public health orders would be in place until February 22nd. The Government also said it was providing support to businesses by expanding program eligibility under the Sector Support Program and providing second payments to those affected by the COVID-19 public health orders that were in place before January 31st.
  • On February 11th, the Government announced it was accelerating its plan to reduce public health restrictions and that effective February 15th:
    • Capacity limits would be eliminated in venues such as restaurants, licensed premises, entertainment venues, indoor and outdoor sporting events, and casinos, as well as gatherings at private residences;
    • Capacity limits would be removed for outdoor public gatherings but would be limited to 50 people indoors unless proof of vaccination is required;
    • Young people ages 12 to 17 participating in indoor sports and recreation would no longer be required to provide proof of vaccination or recent testing; and
    • Close contacts of a person who tests positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate.
  • The Government also said that the province plans to remove proof of vaccination requirements effective March 1st.
  • On February 3rd, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced the province would enter into a modified Alert Level 3 on February 7th and that the following restrictions would apply:
    • Gyms, fitness facilities, and restaurants can expand to 50% capacity;
    • Bars can re-open at 50% capacity;
    • Performance spaces, cinemas, and bingo halls can open at 50 people or 25% capacity per room, whichever is less;
    • Formal gatherings are limited to 50 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less; and
    • Informal gatherings are limited to your household and your 20 close, consistent contacts.
  • On February 8th, the Government announced that effective February 14th:
    • Formal gatherings such as weddings and funerals and any events operated by a business or organization are limited to 50% capacity;
    • Informal gatherings are limited to 20 people;
    • Performance spaces, bingo halls, and cinemas can operate at 50% capacity;
    • Gyms, fitness facilities, and arenas can operate at 50% capacity; and
    • Team sports can resume, however tournaments of any kind are not permitted.
  • On February 21st, the Government announced that effective immediately:
    • Gatherings in your home are limited to no more than 25 people;
    • Formal gatherings are limited to no more than 50% of the venue's capacity;
    • Gym and fitness facilities are permitted to operate at 75% capacity per room or ice surface;
    • Amateur individual and team sport and recreation activities may return to out-of-region competition, however tournaments of any kind are not permitted;
    • Restaurants can open for in-person dining at 75% capacity;
    • Retail stores, including those in shopping malls, have no restrictions; and
    • Cinemas, performance spaces, and bingo halls can operate at a maximum capacity of 50% per room.
  • The Government also said that by March 14th, provided epidemiology remains favourable, all restrictions will be lifted, including capacity limits, masking, and proof of vaccination requirements.
  • On February 4th, the Government of Nova Scotia announced that starting February 7th sports practices and rehearsals for arts and culture performances could have up to 25 people indoors and 50 outdoors, however they cannot have multiple groups, games, or performances and spectators are still not permitted.
  • On February 9th, the Government announced it would ease COVID restrictions over three phases and that beginning February 14th:
    • All border restrictions for domestic travellers entering Nova Scotia would be lifted;
    • Informal gathering limits indoors and outdoors would be 25 people from the same household or close social group;
    • Formal gathering limits for events hosted by a recognized business or organization would be 50% capacity indoors and outdoors;
      • These gatherings include festivals, special events, social gatherings, regular faith services, receptions, meetings, training, and spectators at sports events, performances, and movie theatres.
    • Professional and amateur sports participants are limited to 60 indoors and outdoors and can have practices, training, regular league games, rehearsals, and performances; tournaments are not allowed;
    • Fitness, recreation, and leisure businesses and organizations, including gyms, yoga studios, pools, and arenas can operate at 75% capacity;
    • Retail businesses and malls can operate at maximum capacity; and
    • Food establishments and liquor-licensed establishments can operate at 75% capacity; dine-in service must stop by midnight and close by 1 a.m.
  • The Government said that each phase is expected to last about a month.
  • On February 23rd, the Government announced it was moving up the timeline for easing public health restrictions and that effective February 28th, Phase 1 of the province's reopening plan would be adjusted to end the current requirement to show proof of full vaccination before participating in non-essential, discretionary events and activities. The Government said that Phase 2 would begin on March 7th and that all restrictions would end on March 21st.
  • On February 4th, the Government of Yukon announced that effective February 5th, limits on indoor recreational team sports for youth 18 years of age and under would increase to 25 people or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is less.
  • On February 10th, the Government announced that effective February 11th:
    • Indoor recreational team sports for people 19 years of age and older would increase to 25 people or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is less;
    • Indoor arts and recreational activities for all ages would increase to 25 people or 50% venue capacity, whichever is less;
    • Indoor cultural gatherings would increase to 25 people or 50% of venue capacity, whichever is less;
    • Indoor personal gatherings continue to be limited to 10 people;
    • Outdoor personal gatherings are limited to 25 people; and
    • Bars and restaurants will be allowed to reintroduce bar and countertop service within their establishments.
  • The Government also said that proof of vaccination is still required in designated settings.
  • On February 17th, the Government announced the following changes would take effect on February 18th:
    • Proof of vaccination in designated settings is only required for people 19 years of age and older;
    • Bars and restaurants can return to normal hours of operation;
    • Indoor organized events will increase to 50% capacity;
    • Indoor sports events, team sports, group fitness, group recreation, and group non-active leisure activities can operate at 50% capacity;
    • Movie theatres, museums, and art galleries can operate at 50% capacity;
    • Casinos and nightclubs may reopen;
    • Public saunas, hot springs, hot pools, steam rooms or baths may reopen at 50% capacity; and
    • Personal services may be offered with no capacity limits.
  • On February 24th, the Government announced that effective March 4th, only the following public health measures will remain in place in the territory:
    • Mandatory masking in all indoor public places, including schools, and outdoor public settings when physical distancing cannot be maintained;
    • The vaccination requirement for Yukon government employees; and
    • The requirement to show proof of vaccination to access designated settings for people who are 19 years of age or older.
  • On February 8th, the Government of Prince Edward Island announced its plan to ease existing public health measures related to the CVOID-19 pandemic and that effective February 17th:
    • Personal gatherings may include up to 20 people;
    • Organized gatherings may include up to 50% capacity;
    • Sport and recreational activities may include up to 50 participants each day (includes interprovincial games, but no large tournaments);
    • Restaurants, fitness facilities, retail, and other venues may operate at 50% capacity;
    • In-room dining with maximum table size of 20 people and no restriction on closing time;
    • PEI Vax Pass still in effect for discretionary activities.
  • The Government also said that it estimated it would ease measures further on March 17th and April 7th.
  • On February 23rd, the Government announced it would discontinue the PEI Vax Pass effective February 28th and travellers entering PEI who are not fully vaccinated will no longer be required to isolate but will still be screened and tested on entry and again on day 2 and 4 the same as all travelers.
  • On February 8th, the Government of Alberta announced it would begin a three-step plan to phase out public health measures, and that beginning February 9th:
    • The Restrictions Exemption Program ends, along with most associated restrictions;
    • Facilities with capacity of 500 to 1,000 will be limited to 500; and
    • Facilities with capacity of 1,000-plus will be limited to 50%.
  • Beginning February 14th:
    • Masks will no longer be required for children and youth in schools;
    • Masks will no longer be required in any setting for children aged 12 and under.
  • The Government said step two of the reopening would begin on March 1st.
  • On February 26th, the Government said Alberta would begin step two and that effective March 1st:
    • Capacity limits will be lifted for all venues;
    • Limits on social gatherings will be removed;
    • The provincial mask mandate will be lifted in most settings; and
    • Mandatory work-from-home requirements will be removed.
  • On February 9th, the Government of New Brunswick announced that on February 19th the province would move to Level 1 of the winter plan to manage COVID-19 and that:
    • Businesses which were required to reduce their capacity to 50% under Level 2, including entertainment centres, gyms, and restaurants, would be able to open to full capacity with proof of full vaccination required;
    • Household gatherings would be limited to a maximum of 20 people;
    • Outdoor informal gatherings would be limited to a maximum of 50 people; and
    • Children aged 5 to 11 would be permitted to participate in game play with a two-team bubble.
  • On February 24th, the Government announced that effective February 28th organizations and businesses will no longer be required to enforce proof of vaccination for entry. The Government also said that it will remove all remaining COVID-19 mandatory measures on March 14th.
  • On February 9th, the Government of Canada announced it intends to propose expanding access to the Local Lockdown Program and the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit by one month to March 12th.
  • On February 15th, the Government announced a series of adjustments to current border measures and that as of February 28th:
    • On-arrival testing for fully-vaccinated travellers will be eased;
    • Travellers will now have the option of using a COVID-19 rapid antigen test result (taken the day prior to their scheduled flight or arrival) or a molecular test result (taken no more than 72 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival);
    • The Government will no longer recommend that Canadians avoid travel for non-essential purposes; and
    • International flights carrying passengers will be permitted to land at all remaining Canadian airports that are designated by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to receive international passenger flights.
  • On February 14th, the Government of Ontario announced it was easing public health measures sooner, and that effective February 17th:
    • Social gathering limits would be increased to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors;
    • Organized public event limits would be increased to 50 people indoors, with no limit outdoors;
    • Capacity limits would be removed in the following indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required:
      • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
      • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
      • Cinemas;
      • Meeting and event spaces, including conference centres or convention centres;
      • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments;
      • Indoor areas of settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
    • 50% of the usual seating capacity at sports arenas, concert venues, and theatre would now be allowed;
    • Indoor capacity limits would be increased to 25% in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, restaurants where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.
  • The Government also said that effective March 1st it intends to take additional easing measures, including lifting proof of vaccination requirements for all settings as well as lifting capacity limits in all remaining indoor public settings.
  • On February 14th, the Government of Saskatchewan announced that proof of vaccination or negative tests would no longer be required in Saskatchewan businesses, workplace, and other venues. The Government also said that all public health orders in Saskatchewan would be removed as of February 28th.
  • On February 15th, the Government of Nunavut announced the easing of public health restrictions in some communities and that effective February 21st, restrictions in Arviat, Baker Lake, Chesterfield Inlet, Clyde River, Gjoa Haven, Grise Fjord, Kimmirut, Kinngait, Kugluktuk, Naujaat, Pond Inlet, Qikiqtarjuaq, Sanirajak, and Whale Cove would be as follows:
    • Outdoor gatherings increase to 50 people;
    • Indoor gatherings increase to 10 people plus household members;
    • Restaurants and licensed facilities may open at 25 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less;
    • Public indoor gatherings increase to 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less;
    • Gyms, swimming pools, libraries, museums, and galleries can have up 25 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less; and
    • Arena capacity may increase to 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less.
  • The Government said that effective February 21st, measures in Igloolik would be:
    • Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people;
    • Indoor gatherings in dwellings are restricted to 5 people, plus household members;
    • Indoor public gatherings, including community halls, recreation centres, and galleries are limited to 25 people or 25% capacity;
    • Schools and daycares may open;
    • Arenas are limited to 25 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less, as well as a maximum of 25 spectators and no team sports;
    • All non-essential businesses except personal services may open; and 
    • Group counselling sessions are limited to 10 people.
  • On February 22nd, the Government announced that measures in Arctic Bay, Pangnirtung, Iqaluit, Rankin Inlet, Coral Harbour, Sanikiluaq, Cambridge Bay, Kugaaruk, Resolute and Pond Inlet, would be eased and that effective February 28th:
    • Outdoor gatherings increase to 50 people;
    • Indoor gatherings increase to 10 people plus household members;
    • Restaurants and licensed facilities may open to 25 people or 25% capacity, whichever is less;
    • Public indoor gatherings increase to 25 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less;
    • Gyms, libraries, museums, and galleries capacity is 25 people or 50%, whichever is less; and
    • Arena capacity may increase to 50 people or 50% capacity, whichever is less, as well as a maximum of 50 spectators.
  • On February 25th, the Government of the Northwest Territories announced that effective March 1st, travel requirements for self-isolation will be reduced and gathering restrictions, as well as the Proof of Vaccine Program for businesses, will end.

Resources

  • Calgary-based Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC) announced that mechanical completion of the Trans Mountain Project is anticipated to occur in the third quarter of 2023 and that the project cost has increased from $12.6 billion to $21.4 billion. In a subsequent release, the Government of Canada announced that with 50% of the pipeline already built and the project significantly de-risked, the Government will spend no additional public money on the project, and that TMC will instead secure the funding necessary to complete the project with third-party financing.
  • Vancouver-based Canfor Pulp Products Inc. announced a minimum six-week curtailment of Bleached Chemical Thermo-Mechanical Pulp (BCTMP) production at its Taylor Pulp mill in response to significant transportation shortages that have resulted in inventories at the mill reaching capacity. Canfor said the curtailment will reduce production of BCTMP by ay least 25,000 tonnes. In a separate release, Canfor Corporation announced the permanent reduction of 150 million board feet of production capacity at its Plateau Sawmill at the end of the second quarter of 2022.
  • Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. announced that due to infrastructure repairs to rail and truck routes resulting from the severe weather and flooding in late 2021, January 2022 shipments of western Canadian spruce-pine-fir lumber and plywood declined by approximately 20% compared to the prior year while shipments of pulp for the same period declined by approximately 30%. West Fraser said that further reduction of operating schedules across its manufacturing network in order to manage inventory levels, raw materials supplies, and its integrated fibre supply chain may be required.

Transportation

  • Montreal-based Air Canada announced an expansion of its North American network for Summer 2022, including new service on four transborder and three domestic routes, as well as the restoration of 41 North American routes. Air Canada said it will operate to 51 Canadian and 46 U.S. airports this summer. Air Canada also announced an expanded Summer 2022 international schedule with 34 routes relaunching.
  • Calgary-based WestJet Airlines Ltd. announced it was further extending schedule reductions by 20% for the month of March.

Other news

  • On February 14th, the Government of Canada declared a public order emergency under the Emergencies Act to end disruptions, border blockades, and the occupation of Ottawa's downtown core. On February 23rd, the Government announced it would be ending the use of the Emergencies Act.
  • On February 24th, the Government of Canada announced it was imposing new sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
  • On February 11th, the Government of Ontario announced that the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice made an order prohibiting or blocking access to the Ambassador bridge in Windsor, effective immediately. The Government said the order would remain in effect for ten days. On February 18th, the Government said the Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice made an order continuing the previous order and varying its terms.
  • On February 14th, the Government of Ontario announced that on February 11th it had declared a provincial emergency under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, with new measures that make it illegal to impede access to or exit from critical infrastructure. The Government said the new measures would strengthen police powers to disperse crowds and remove vehicles, as well as suspend or cancel permits, licenses, and certificates under the Highway Traffic Act. On February 25th, the Government extended the orders until March 12th.
  • On February 6th, the City of Ottawa declared a state of emergency due to the ongoing demonstration. On February 24th the City terminated the state of emergency.
  • The Government of British Columbia released Budget 2022 on February 22nd, which included investments in childcare, health and mental health services, education, fighting climate change, and supporting sectors through pandemic recovery. The Government projects a $5.5 billion deficit in 2022-2023 and real GDP growth of 4.0% in 2022.
  • The Government of the Northwest Territories released Budget 2022-23 on February 22nd, which included investments in infrastructure, fighting climate change, health and wellbeing, education, and childcare. The Government projects a $131 million surplus in 2022-2023 and no real GDP growth in 2022.
  • The Government of Alberta released Budget 2022 on February 24th, which included investments in additional healthcare capacity and expanding student enrollment in areas with skills shortages. The Government projects a $500 million surplus in 2022-2023 and real GDP growth of 5.4% in 2022.
  • The Government of Prince Edward Island delivered its 2022-23 operating budget on February 24th, which included investments in the province's youth, economy, health care, and senior population. The Government projects a $92 million deficit in 2022-23 and real GDP growth of 2.9% in 2022.
  • Toronto-based TD Bank Group and First Horizon Corporation of Tennessee announced they had signed a definitive agreement for TD to acquire First Horizon in an all-cash transaction valued at USD $13.4 billion. TD said the transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of TD's 2023 fiscal year, subject to customary closing conditions including approvals from shareholder and U.S. and Canadian regulatory authorities.

United States and other international news

  • The Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted to increase the Bank Rate by 25 basis points to 0.50%. The last change in the Bank Rate was a 15 basis points increase in December 2021. The MPC also voted to begin to reduce the stock of UK government bond purchases and the stock of sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bond purchases by ceasing to reinvest maturing assets.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that (i) the interest rates on the main refinancing operations, the marginal lending facility, and the deposit facility will remain unchanged at 0.00%, 0.25% and -0.50%, respectively; (ii) net purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) will amount to €40 billion in the second quarter and €30 billion in the fourth quarter, and from October 2022 onwards at a monthly pace of €20 billion; and (iii) in the first quarter of 2022, the Governing Council is conducting net asset purchases under the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) at a lower pace than in the previous quarter and will discontinue net asset purchases under the PEPP at the end of March 2022.
  • The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) maintained the target for the cash rate at 0.10%. The last change in the target for the cash rate was a 15 basis points reduction in November 2020. The RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) also decided to cease further purchases under the bond purchase program.
  • The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) increased the Official Cash Rate (OCR), its main policy rate, by 25 basis points to 1.0%. The last change in the OCR was a 25 basis points increase in November 2021. The RBNZ also agreed to commence the gradual reduction of the Reserve Bank's bond holdings under the Large Scale Asset Purchase (LSAP) programme through both bond maturities and managed sales.
  • The Executive Board of Sweden's Riksbank left the repo rate unchanged at 0.00% and said the rate will be raised in the second half of 2024. The Riksbank also said it would purchase bonds for SEK 37 billion during the second quarter of 2022 to compensate for maturing assets in the portfolio.
  • OPEC and non-OPEC members announced they had decided to adjust upward the monthly overall production by 0.4 mb/d for the month of March 2022.
  • Florida-based Citrix Systems, Inc. announced it had entered into a definitive agreement under which affiliates of Vista Equity Partners of Texas and Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation of California will acquire Citrix in an all-cash transaction valued at USD $16.5 billion, including the assumption of Citrix debt. Citrix said the transaction is expected to close mid-year, subject to customary closing conditions including shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Financial market news

  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil closed at USD $95.72 per barrel on February 28th, up from a closing value of USD $88.15 at the end of January. Western Canadian Select crude oil traded in the USD $74 to $82 per barrel range throughout February. The Canadian dollar closed at 78.75 cents U.S. on February 28th, up from 78.62 cents U.S. at the end of January. The S&P/TSX composite index closed at 21,126.36 on February 28th, up from 21,098.29 at the end of January.
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