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A weekly reality check on sensible investing and financial decision-making for Canadians. Hosted by Benjamin Felix and Cameron Passmore.

Aug 6, 2020

Often called a ‘once in one hundred years event’, the COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound impact on the economy. Today’s guest is Craig Alexander, Deloitte’s Chief Economist, who brings his 29 years of experience analyzing the economy to answer our questions about the marketplace. We start the conversation by exploring how the pandemic is affecting small businesses, with Craig adding insights into what the government should be doing to help. Craig discusses how the pandemic has revealed inadequacies with Canada’s employment insurance and why Canada needs to improve both its income support and its skills frameworks. A key theme in the episode, Chris presents the idea that businesses “Shouldn’t let a crisis go to waste.” As such, Chris thinks that this crisis is a chance for businesses to reassess their models, especially as certain pre-pandemic trends will continue to disrupt business. Chris also highlights the importance of high-quality childcare services to ensure both long and short-term economic recovery. From childcare, we leap to real estate before Chris provides his perspective on the interplay between the stock market and the economy. After the hosts question the value of economic forecasts, Chris makes a strong case for them, showing how they help organizations to develop plans based on several best and worst-case scenarios. Next, we ask Chris about investing in these times of economic uncertainty and if there is a risk of increased inflation in the future. Near the end of the episode, Chris talks about which industries will most likely grow in the future. Tune in to learn more from Chris’s incredible economic perspective.


Key Points From This Episode:

  • Presenting Craig Alexander’s bona fides and the insights gained from this episode. [0:00:39]
  • How the pandemic has impacted the economy, especially small businesses. [0:03:10]
  • Craig talks about inadequacies in the current employment insurance system. [0:05:06]
  • The challenge of repurposing the job market to fit the recovery landscape. [0:06:37]
  • Reassessing business models as a way for businesses to exit the recession stronger than before. [0:07:44]
  • Trends disrupting business that have been accelerated by the pandemic [0:08:55]
  • Why high-quality childcare services are so important to the economy. [0:11:16]
  • How the real estate market is faring and why Ottawa is not a good benchmark. [0:14:31]
  • How bank policies and mortgage deferrals have impacted real estate. [0:18:40]
  • Making a distinction between COVID-19 and post-vaccine trends [0:22:22]
  • Why consumer debt is increasing but that the debt-to-income ratio is a poor metric [0:24:42]
  • How the interaction between the economy and the stock market has played out. [0:28:37]
  • What government and banks did that stabilized the stock market. [0:29:45]
  • How economic recovery hinges on managing health risks. [0:32:04]
  • The case for economic forecasts and their role in simulation analysis. [0:34:23]
  • Craig highlights the level of uncertainty regarding economic futures. [00:39:15]
  • Why uncertainty shouldn’t prevent you from making investments. [0:41:19]
  • How the government response is geared towards preventing deflation. [00:42:52]
  • Hear why the government's strategy won’t decrease the appetite for Canadian bonds. [0:48:03]
  • How the pandemic is affecting some industries and which markets will see growth. [0:51:12]
  • Chris explains why macroeconomic theories evolve based on circumstance. [0:58:06]
  • Chris shares how he defines success and what brings him [1:03:43]