Canada positioned to dodge the recession bullet, says Soraya Martinez Ferrada

Federal minister for Quebec economic development optimistic about economy in 2024

The Trudeau government is downplaying the possibility of a recession taking hold of Canada’s economy in 2024, while maintaining that the signs are good because inflation is dropping, wages are rising and private sector analysts are optimistic about the country’s economic future.

The Liberal government presented its Fall Economic Statement recently. In it, they provided an economic update that prioritizes housing and the cost of living for families and the middle class, which are two major segments of Laval’s population.

The impact of inflation

The measures announced by the government are aimed primarily at promoting access to housing for those who can’t afford it, in addition to helping families pay their bills and reduce the cost of groceries. At the moment, a good number of Laval residents are suffering, as the cost of goods continues to rise.

Montreal-area Liberal MP Soraya Martinez Ferrada, the federal minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency in the regions of Quebec, notes that the Trudeau government is prioritizing creation of new housing in its Fall Economic Statement.

Pondering the economic outlook for the coming year during an interview last week with Newsfirst Multimedia, Hochelaga Liberal MP Soraya Martinez Ferrada, who is the federal minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency in the regions of Quebec, maintained that since the country isn’t in a recession now, “that puts it in a good position” in terms of future investments, employment and economic renewal.

Outlook positive, says Ferrada

“Contrary to what some people might tell you or what Conservatives will tell you, that Canada is broke, Canada is not broken, Canada is in a good position,” she added, while acknowledging that “these are difficult times and we’re making sure that we will continue to support Canadians through this.”

Asked whether the government agrees with some economists’ forecasts that 2024 will see an economic downturn leading into a recession, Ferrada said, “Not at this moment. I think we’re looking at that very closely. But our economy right now is in a very good position.

‘On a good path’

“Looking at the numbers, we’re monitoring that very closely,” she continued. “But I think we’re taking the right balanced approach in terms of making a Fall Economic Statement that supports Canadians and their needs in a way that is very surgical and in terms that don’t feed inflation to make sure we don’t go into recession. I think we are on a good path.”

Apart from the annual budget which the federal government issues in March each year, the government publishes a financial update in the autumn to provide some guidance on the country’s economic status, as well as for the purpose of building on it.

The Trudeau government claims in this latest economic statement that in the first half of this year, Canada received the third-most foreign direct investment of any country in the world – and the highest per capita in the G7. The statement also notes that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects Canada to see the strongest economic growth in the G7 next year.

Some targeted measures

In a foreword to the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland suggests the government will be taking measures “to ensure that interest rates can fall as soon as possible,” while adding that “some prices are still high and mortgage renewals are looming. That is why we are introducing new targeted measures to help stabilize prices, make life more affordable, and protect Canadians with mortgages.”

The federal government is hoping an increase in supply of new apartment construction will help to bring down soaring rents.

Ferrada said the government’s latest economic statement emphasizes support for the country’s middle-class by speeding up and enabling the construction of more homes, while helping make them more affordable. “That’s the main message of this Fall Economic Statement,” added Ferrada.

Breaking zoning barriers

In an outline of its Housing Action Plan, the government says it is working with provinces, territories, and municipalities across Canada “to break down local zoning barriers and create the conditions that will help to rapidly increase Canada’s housing supply.”

While elements of the plan vary across the country, the Liberal government notes that in early November it signed an agreement with Quebec for a joint contribution, which included $900 million provided by the federal government – nearly 23 per cent of all Housing Accelerator Funding across the country – to help cut red tape and contribute to the building of more homes for Quebecers.

Gov’t hopes for lower apt. rents

“The federal government will continue working with Quebec to build on the bold reforms it has committed to in the new Housing Accelerator Fund bilateral agreement to make housing more affordable for Quebecers,” according to the Fall Economic Statement.

Ferrada said an increased supply of new apartment units the government expects to see as a result of its measures should contribute to a badly-needed lowering of rents, which skyrocketed with inflation that shot up following the Covid pandemic. “What’s going to lower costs is competition by increasing the supply,” she said.