CAMBRIDGE, Ont. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper is lowering expectations when it comes to Canada's economy, saying a global financial slowdown is affecting the country's growth.

The prime minister spoke after the Bank of Canada downgraded its economic growth outlook for the country to 1.9 per cent for the year just ended and 2.0 per cent for this year.

The central bank also said it will likely have to keep interest rates at super-low levels for longer than expected in the face of the surprisingly weak economy.

Harper says his government downgraded its own growth forecast in the fall due to changes outside its borders.

"There has been a general slowing of the global economy over the past half-year so it is obviously a concern to us. And...it’s going obviously to have some fiscal impact on us, will have some impact on the pace of job creation."

But Harper says despite the setback, Canada continues to create jobs and is faring relatively well compared to other countries.

"Families and businesses and ourselves as government should try and look past the fluctations we’ve had over the past several years and are likely to continue to have, and look instead at what we need to do to continue to create jobs, growth and prosperity in the long term for this country."

Harper spoke after announcing that Toyota will receive nearly $34 million from the federal and Ontario governments as it retools an assembly line at its plant in Cambridge, Ont., for the first Lexus hybrid produced outside of Japan.

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  • Northwest Territories: -5.1%

    The Northwest Territories were the only jurisdiction in Canada that saw a negative growth rate in 2011, largely due to a decline in diamond exports. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • New Brunswick: 0%

    New Brunswick's economy flatlined in 2011 due to lacklustre business investment and a pull-back in government spending. Source: StatsCan Photo: Shutterstock

  • Nova Scotia: 0.5%

    Business investment grew strongly but consumer spending was weak in Atlantic Canada's most populous province in 2011. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • Prince Edward Island: 1.6%

    Business investment grew rapidly but foreign trade declined in Canada's smallest province in 2011. Source: StatsCan Photo: Shutterstock

  • Ontario: 1.8%

    Canada's most populous province didn't grow as strongly in 2011 as it did in 2010, but a big jump in imports and exports helped to keep the province in positive territory. Source: StatsCan Photo: Canadian Press

  • Quebec: 1.9%

    Consumer spending helped keep Quebec afloat in 2011, despite a major slowdown in business investment into the housing sector. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • Manitoba: 2%

    Heavy rains and flooding put a damper on economic growth in Manitoba in 2011, but the province still saw a significant increase in consumer demand. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • British Columbia: 2.8%

    Business investment in housing in B.C. in 2011 grew at double the rate of 2010, helping the province to a solid economic performance. Source: StatsCan Photo: Canadian Press

  • Newfoundland: 3%

    Construction for the oil, gas and mining sectors boomed in Newfoundland in 2011, helping to propel the island to one of the higher growth rates seen among Canadian provinces. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • Nunavut: 4.6%

    Nunvaut's 4.6 per cent growth rate in 2011 is nothing compared to its 16.6 per cent growth rate the year before, but the territory booming gold and silver mining sectors are still humming along nicely. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • Saskatchewan: 4.9%

    Growing oil exports and a housing investment boom drove Saskatchewan's economy to an impressive growth rate in 2011. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy

  • Alberta: 5.1%

    The fastest-growing province in Canada in 2011 saw its exports jump a formidable 9.2 per cent over the course of the year. Source: StatsCan Photo: Canadian Press

  • Yukon Territory: 6.5%

    The Yukon hasn't been thought of as a boom region since the Gold Rush of the 19th century, but mineral exploration is still driving its economy today. At 6.5 per cent, the territory had the fastest economic growth in 2011 of any Canadian jurisdiction. Source: StatsCan Photo: Alamy