Long-term small business confidence reaches highest point in months, but borrowing costs and insufficient demand continue to exert heavy pressure

Toronto, February 29, 2024 – The long-term small business confidence index for the next 12 months saw an increase of 6.1 points to 54.9 in February, according to the latest Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer®. This indicator has been steadily increasing since November 2023. 

In other positive news this month, small businesses’ average price (2.8%) and wage (2.5%) plans for the next 12 months continued their downward trend and are getting ever closer to their historical averages. 

However, the very restrictive monetary policy by the Bank of Canada continues negatively impacting small businesses. The share of small businesses reporting challenges with borrowing costs (48%) was still significantly higher than its historical average in February. Nearly half (49%) of survey respondents also reported struggling with insufficient demand. Both of these indicators are at or close to a historical high. 

“This February, the CFIB Business Barometer is showing business owners are seeing some hope on the horizon for the next 12 months. However, they’re not out of the woods yet with a Canadian economy in clear deceleration mode, and it will still take a few more months, and probably a few interest rate cuts, before a lot of them are finally able to grow and fully recover,” said Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s chief economist and vice-president of research.  

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: 
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB 

February Business Barometer®: February findings are based on 645 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from February 1st to the 12th. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.9%, 19 times in 20. Every new month, the entire series of indicators is recalculated for the previous month to include all survey responses received in that previous month. Measured on a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their business’s performance to be stronger over the next three or 12 months outnumber those expecting weaker performance.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 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 cfib.ca.