Central banks have deployed a range of conventional and unconventional tools in their emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic disruptions. These extraordinary measures have also refreshed discussions around the need for strong public engagement on the part of monetary authorities. As Bank of Canada (BoC) Governor Tiff Macklem noted at the Jackson Hole Symposium in August 2020, “The imperative is to step boldly beyond market transparency and engage with the public to explain how our actions serve our economy-wide objectives.”
Governor Macklem’s call for “a deeper relationship between the central bank and its citizens” coincides with a routine re-assessment of monetary policy in Canada. The BoC is in the process of a multi-year review in advance of the renewal of its monetary policy framework in 2021. Culminating in an inflation-control agreement with the Government of Canada every five years, the renewal process adds credibility to the Bank’s inflation objective and underpins its operational independence. The BoC runs a research program in the years preceding each scheduled agreement to inform the terms for renewal. As a milestone in its current program, the Bank held a virtual workshop on August 26, 2020, entitled “Towards the 2021 Renewal of the Monetary Policy Framework.” Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins described the event as an occasion to share and discuss the research progress made thus far, but also to solicit the feedback of attendees as part of the Bank’s wider public outreach.