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OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2008

image of OECD Economic Surveys: Canada 2008

OECD's periodic survey of Canada's economy.  After two chapters assessing the current economic situation and policy responses to new terms of trade, ageing, and climate change, additional articles are presented on tax reform, long-term sustainability in the energy sector, and modernising Canada's agricultural policies.

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Assessment and recommendations

The Canadian economy has performed remarkably well for the past decade and a half. Real GDP growth has been robust, employment gains have been impressive, the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in a generation, and positive terms-of-trade effects have combined with real per capita output growth to boost Canadian living standards. Furthermore, higher commodity prices have led to a rapid appreciation in the dollar back to around parity with its US counterpart, helping to discipline wage- and price-setting and meet the official inflation target. Domestic price inflation has also been held in check by expanding production capacity, thanks to rising female and older-worker labour-force participation, which has more than compensated for relatively weak productivity growth. However, high commodity prices and the resulting currency appreciation have been forcing rapid economic adjustments through industrial and regional employment shifts. Most signs point to orderly adjustment – even resource-poor regions have seen overall employment gains, despite substantial losses in manufacturing.

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