Ontario Premier Doug Ford says the people “need a break” from high interest rates, a day before the Bank of Canada announcement.

“People are hurting. They need a break,” the premier said in a post shared on X, formerly Twitter. “It’s time for the Bank of Canada to start lowering interest rates tomorrow.”

On Wednesday morning, the Bank of Canada is slated to make an interest rate announcement and it is anticipated to maintain its key interest rate at five per cent, with most forecasting the first rate cut to come around June.

Meanwhile, the parliamentary budget officer’s report anticipates the first rate cut to come slightly earlier, forecasting for sometime in April.

Some economists expect the Bank of Canada will begin cutting interest rates around the middle of the year. 

“We’ve seen very little, almost no economic growth whatsoever last year,” David Macdonald, a senior economist at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, told CTV News Channel in January. “There’s no indication that we’re going to immediately see growth at the start of this year.”

Canada’s economy grew at an annualized rate of one per cent in the fourth quarter, exceeding the central bank’s most recent forecast and economists’ expectations. On a per-capita basis, the real gross domestic product dwindled in that same period.

The country’s annual inflation rate dropped to 2.9 per cent in January, falling within Bank of Canada’s one to three per cent target range. However, the central bank has made it clear its target inflation rate is two per cent.

The PBO says the economy will likely grow by 0.8 per cent this year, slightly lower than the central bank’s projection of one per cent. It also anticipates the federal deficit to grow $46.8 billion for the current fiscal year so long as no new measures are introduced – this means it would exceed the Canadian government’s fall projection of $40 billion.

This is the third time in recent months Ford pleaded with the central bank to do something about its interest rates. In September, Ford urged Tiff Macklem, the central bank’s governor, to “consider the effect higher interest rates are having on everyday people.”

Then, in October, he said, “There is simply no excuse for increasing the already crushing pressure previous interest rate hikes have placed on so many families and business.”

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rates 10 times since March 2022 in an effort to bring inflation to its target and tighten economic activity.

The central bank is set to publish its outlook for Canada’s economy and inflation on April 10.

With files from Phil Tsekouras and The Canadian Press 

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