Ottawa-Gatineau's economy is expected to cool slightly this year, in the wake of last year's national 150th celebration and public administration expansion.
That is according to The Conference Board of Canada's Metropolitan Outlook.
"Like most of Ontario, the pace of economic expansion will be more moderate for Ottawa-Gatineau and Kingston this year," said The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for Municipal Studies Associate Director Alan Arcand. "Growth in Ottawa-Gatineau's all-important public administration sector is expected to slow this year, but strength in non-residential construction and high-tech will keep the economy growing at a still-healthy pace."
Ottawa-Gatineau's real GDP is forecast to rise 2.1% in 2018, down from the 2.7% increase last year. The board explained that the public administration sector has been expanding over the past few years, providing a boost to the government-centric capital region. The pace, however, has been unsustainable and public administration output is forecast to rise by a more modest 1.8% this year.
Canada's 150th birthday generated a substantial jump in the number of tourists who flocked to Ottawa to take in the celebratory events and exhibits through 2017. But Arcand believes the party is now over, and the capital's tourism-related industries are set to face a slower 2018.
On a positive note, several current and future projects are expected to help drive construction output growth in 2018. This includes projects on and around Parliament Hill, a possible new underground visitor welcome centre, an arena complex to house the Gatineau Olympiques junior hockey team and three smaller community ice pads, a new central library for the City of Ottawa, the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats, and the O-Train light rail transit system.
The region's high-tech sector is also contributing to Ottawa's economy, as it continues to diversify away from telecommunications. As a result, output growth in Ottawa's professional, scientific, and technical services industry is expected to accelerate over the next two years.
Despite the slower economy, the Conference Board of Canada said solid employment growth of 1.5% is still expected in 2018.
Alan Arcand joined The Rick Gibbons Show on 1310 NEWS, Tuesday: