The CEO of financial services co-operative Desjardins Group is bracing for months of economic turmoil ahead. 

“The next six to seven months in front of us will be quite a challenge,” Guy Cormier told BNN Bloomberg in a Tuesday interview.

Cormier said he’s unsure if there is a significant downturn, a “soft landing” or a slowdown ahead for Canada’s economy, but he anticipates people and businesses will feel the economic pinch regardless.

“At the end of the day, until next summer, it'll be quite rough for many households and many SMEs (small and midsize enterprises),” Cormier said. 


The vast majority of Desjardins clients with mortgages are still able to make their payments amid elevated borrowing costs, Cormier said, though he expects some mortgage owners may need to alter their budgets to keep up with payments. 

Unemployment is another key data point Cormier will be watching going forward.

“I look at the unemployment rate, and if people keep their jobs and are able to continue to pay (their mortgage),” he said.

However, Cormier said he is optimistic about the unemployment forecast, because he expects many small and midsize enterprises will try to hold on to their workforces for as long as possible given recent labour shortages. 

“People will be very careful laying off employees,” he said. “That's where I feel that I'm still optimistic.”