CALGARY -- For many Calgarians who rely on oil and gas to make a living, Monday’s stock markets were a real eye-opener as Alberta heavy crude saw a $10 drop to close out the day at $17.80.

The Canadian dollar saw a decrease of one cent to close the day at 73.20 U.S. cents.

American benchmark WTI (West Texas Intermediate) closed the day down $10 to $31.13US per barrel.

"What we're looking for is early signs of recovery," said Mark Machin, CEO of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board.

Machin was in Calgary speaking to business leaders at a Chamber of Commerce event.

With a medical background as well, Machin says the fears around the COVID-19 virus worldwide and tensions escalating between OPEC leaders Saudi Arabia and Russia, justify the plummeting prices.

"It's quite justified, not necessarily from a medical point of view but it's really the impacts of the measures governments should have in place," said Machin.

Machin adds that the CPP has invested about $11 billion into Alberta, with 2.8 million Albertans contributing to the program.

Due to lower prices, Machin suggests the CPP will not stop investing in the province’s energy industry.

"Even the most optimistic predictor of the energy transition, which is going to happen over time, we say it's not going to be over tomorrow, not over the next year, it's not going to be over the next five years," said Machin.

"There's still a role for carbon-based fuels for the foreseeable future."