"Blackout" Guidelines for Communications around Fixed Announcement Dates

Eight times a year, the Bank announces its decision on the setting of its key policy interest rate (the overnight rate target). Members of the Bank's Governing Council observe a communications "blackout" around the announcement of the interest rate decision. This "blackout" (or "no-comment") period is intended to help mitigate unnecessary speculation about monetary policy actions. During the blackout, Governing Council members refrain from giving speeches and from speaking to the news media or other outside parties about the economic outlook and the direction of monetary policy, or about anything else that could be considered relevant to the economic outlook and their interest rate decision. Other senior representatives of the Bank are also expected to adhere to the blackout guidelines.

The key policy rate decision is published on a Wednesday at 10:00 Eastern Time.

  • In January, April, July and October, when the Monetary Policy Report is published concurrently with the key policy interest rate decision, the blackout starts on the day of the major staff briefing, 1 which typically occurs on the Tuesday of the preceding week, and ends the following Wednesday at 11:15 Eastern Time, when the press conference associated with the release of the Report begins.
  • When the policy rate decision is not published in conjunction with a Monetary Policy Report, the blackout starts on Wednesday the week before the decision. In these cases, the blackout extends to the end of the day on which the decision is announced.
  1. During this briefing, the Governing Council receives the Staff projection, including information gathered by the Bank’s regional offices, information on money and credit conditions, and the perspective of financial markets. See T. Macklem, “Information and Analysis for Monetary Policy: Coming to a Decision,” Bank of Canada Review (Summer 2002): 11-18 and J. Murray, “Monetary Policy Decision Making at the Bank of Canada” (remarks to the Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C., Vancouver, British Columbia, 7 May 2012). []