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Ontario’s Lost Decade: 2007–2016


  • Between 2007 and 2016, Ontario was mired in a prolonged period of economic weakness during which it lost ground compared to the rest of the country on many important economic indicators.
  • This bulletin examines the extent of Ontario’s economic weakness during this decade by examining a range of economic metrics.
  • Ontario underperformed the rest of the country in each of the metrics examined in this study, specifically, real economic growth per person, private sector job growth, progress in real median household incomes, or debt accumulated per capita.
  • In fact, out of the 10 provinces, Ontario finishes near the bottom of the provincial pack (between 7th and 10th place) for each of the indicators examined.
  • Such a prolonged and severe period of economic weakness will have long-lasting implications for Ontario’s prosperity. As such, we characterize the period as a “lost decade” of economic growth for Ontario.
  • Ontario’s economy picked up in 2017, but it will take more than one year of solid growth for Ontario to make up for the lost ground of the preceding decade and reclaim its historical place as a leading economy within Canada.

Topping the G7 in growth is nothing to boast about

Excluding Canada and the U.S., the average annual economic growth rate for the other five G7 countries over the past 20 years is 1.28 per cent.

What to make of Ontario’s January job losses

Closely linking January’s job losses to the Wynne government’s minimum wage hikes without recognizing other causes creates a dangerous precedent.

Despite a stronger 2017, Ontario’s economy still has a long way to go

Over the past decade more Ontarians have left to live in other provinces than have moved here from elsewhere in the country.

Job loss plagues large chunks of Ontario

In northern Ontario, job losses ranged from 1 per cent in Greater Sudbury to 16.1 per cent in Sault Ste. Marie.

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