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Good morning everyone, et bonjour à tous.
Bienvenue à la Banque du Canada. Je m’appelle Larry Schembri. Je suis un sous-gouverneur ici à la Banque.
Given the significant challenges central banks have faced in achieving their monetary policy goals since the global financial crisis, this is a propitious moment to step back and re-examine these fundamental issues from a variety of perspectives.
As many of you know, the current monetary policy framework in Canada consists of two components:
While the second component has been in place for almost 60 of the past 70 years, our inflation-targeting regime was implemented in 1991 and the current specification has existed since 1995.
This framework has served Canada well in the face of significant movements in commodity prices and Canada’s terms of trade, as well as other shocks, including the Great Recession. Inflation has averaged just below 2 per cent since we implemented the target, and both output growth and inflation have been much more stable relative to before 1991.
The joint agreement with a democratically elected government enhances the legitimacy of the price stability objective and thereby boosts its credibility. It also gives the Bank of Canada operational independence to achieve this goal.
The regular five-year review, meanwhile, affords the Bank the opportunity to revisit many important aspects of our monetary policy framework and its implementation.
While the framework has worked well in the past, improvements should always be considered—especially given the changing economic environment, the lessons learned from experience in Canada and elsewhere, and pertinent research findings.
In the past, the Bank has used this opportunity to organize and give visibility to its monetary policy research program, which has examined various dimensions of our monetary framework—well beyond the relatively narrow scope of the joint inflation-control agreement and the goal of price stability.
The regular five-year review also presents the opportunity to engage various stakeholders in this process to provide us with helpful ideas and useful feedback on our work. This workshop is a case in point. It has been organized early in the current five-year review cycle, so we can draw from a wide range of perspectives—from academics, economic journalists and other central bankers and policy makers—well before we begin to develop the key questions for our research program that will culminate in the 2021 renewal and publication of our background document.
In addition to striving to obtain a wide range of perspectives, the workshop has been organized in a fairly open-ended manner to stimulate dialogue on a broad span of issues. And in keeping with our desire to be open and transparent about this process, and to include all Canadians, today’s conference is being webcast and we will post running commentary on our social media channels.
We have divided the workshop into four panels:
In the past, we have considered several important framework questions, most notably:
So, we are most fortunate to have with us today a very distinguished group of speakers to enlighten us with their thinking on these and other challenging issues. Please let me close by thanking them, and all conference participants, especially those who have come some distance to be with us today.