Council Reports

April 23, 2020 – Between early March and mid-April, the Bank of Canada’s balance sheet more than doubled, dwarfing anything seen in 2008. Moreover unlike 2008, this increase has serious implications for future inflation, because the Bank’s increased liabilities are not the result of government deposits, but rather increased “settlement balances” or deposits by financial institutions, which increases the monetary base. Once the pandemic and economic crisis passes there is no easy solution to the potential inflation problem arising from more money chasing fewer goods and services. Trying to unwind the Bank’s balance sheet by selling longer-term assets is fraught with political risk. Alternatively, while a floor system could help manage...

April 9, 2020 – The C.D. Howe Institute’s Monetary Policy Council (MPC) recommends that the Bank of Canada maintain its target for the overnight rate, its benchmark policy interest rate, at 0.25 percent for at least a year. The MPC provides an independent assessment of the monetary stance consistent with the Bank of Canada’s 2 percent inflation target. William Robson, the Institute’s President and CEO, chairs the Council. Council members make recommendations for the Bank of Canada’s upcoming interest-rate announcement, the subsequent announcement, and the announcements six months and one year ahead. Although the votes for individual members varied somewhat (see table), reflecting the unusual crisis-related...

April 1, 2020 - The C.D. Howe Institute’s Monetary and Financial Measures Working Group, supported by a group of financial market experts, and co-chaired by former Governor of the Bank of Canada David Dodge and former Deputy Superintendent of OSFI Mark Zelmer, held its second meeting on Monday, March 30, 2020.  The working group agreed that, while there is a need for governments and central banks to monitor the effect of current crisis measures on debt and potential future inflation, these concerns are not a short-run issue and should not come at the expense of the immediate need for large-scale fiscal stimulus. To that end, the Monetary and Financial Measures Working Group recommends the following: Quickly...