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BC Business Optimism sees Biggest Drop in Over a Decade

VANCOUVER, March 25, 2020 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for British Columbia dropped 16 points reaching an index of 28.8, according to the latest survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The substantial decrease is representative of the uncertainty felt by local entrepreneurs as the COVID-19 pandemic heightens across Canada.

“The sudden decrease in entrepreneurial confidence this March can be largely explained by anxiety levels across Canada regarding the current pandemic. Governments across the country have started announcing relief measures for small businesses, as the Province of BC did earlier this week. The deferment of many provincial taxes, including the Employer Health Tax, along with halving the School Tax rate in 2020 for businesses are some of the initiatives  the BC government has taken to offer support," says Muriel Protzer, Senior Policy Analyst, BC and the North.

"We hope to see these measures provide clarity and help subside levels of uncertainty going forward. Entrepreneurs in BC are still processing the impacts of COVID-19 on their business on day to day basis. Implementation of both short and long-term measures to support our local economies are particularly important to get communities on a path back to normality," adds Protzer. 

Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index level above 50 means owners expecting their business’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 75 means that the economy is growing at its potential. This month, it is notable to see no provincial index above 50 points.

To view the full report, please visit  

The provincial numbers for January were: New Brunswick (44.6), Nova Scotia (44.0), Manitoba (37.5), Ontario (37.0), Canada (30.8), British Columbia (28.8), Saskatchewan (28.3), Newfoundland (27.8), Alberta (26.2), and Quebec (15.7).

The first half of March findings are based 748 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from March 2 to March 13, with 80% of responses received on March 2nd and 3rd. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20. The second half of March 2020 findings are based on 1,378 responses received on March 17 and 18. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst, about the BC results, please call 604-684-5325 or email [email protected] after 8:30 AM PT. To interview Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 416-222-8022. For more information, visit

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at

March 25, 2020

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Topics in this Article: Economic Indicators

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