Lawrence Schembri: Living with limits - household behaviour in Canada in the time of COVID-19

Remarks (by videoconference) by Mr Lawrence Schembri, Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, to the Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 18 June 2020.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
07 August 2020


Good morning. I hope you are all well in Saskatoon. I very much regret that I cannot be with you in person today. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives-unfortunately, some more severely than others. And because of this pandemic, we are all living with limits on our behaviour.

One of the things I enjoy most about giving public speeches as a Deputy Governor is having the opportunity to visit different towns and cities throughout Canada and especially to meet people like you. I very much like listening and learning about your businesses and the local economy and discussing the Bank of Canada, our economic outlook and our policies. We are fortunate to be living at a time when technology can make some of this experience possible even under the current circumstances.

Collecting your views will be most helpful today because I want to talk about the impact of the virus and the related containment measures on the day-to-day behaviour of Canadian households. Specifically, I would like to examine how spending patterns for goods and services and for housing have changed. I'd also like to discuss shifts we are seeing in household borrowing behaviour and indebtedness.