BC entrepreneurial confidence sees no growth in May; urgent need to support local entrepreneurs

VANCOUVER, May 28, 2020 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for British Columbia slipped 4 points in May, reaching an index of 52.7 according to the latest survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The low index continues to reflect the significant stress and challenges entrepreneurs face as the navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. While several sectors look to reopen and/or expand services as the province enters Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan, small businesses continue to face a list of challenges.

“With British Columbia entering Phase two of its economic reopening plan, it is certainly encouraging to see more businesses open their doors to the public, with social distancing and additional protective measures in place,” says Muriel Protzer, Senior Policy Analyst for BC and the North. “While it is important to remain positive during these difficult times, we cannot ignore the urgent need to support local business in our province,” adds Protzer.

While business owners continue to monitor the ongoing situation and adjust as necessary to keep staff and customers safe, they must also consider the future of their business. Additional data collected from a CFIB Survey issued between May 15 and May 21, 2020 offers the perspective of over 800 independent business owners on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting their business. Most notably, the survey finds that: 

  • 71 per cent are worried consumer spending will be reduced, even following the COVID-19 crisis
  • 62 per cent are worried about cash flow (e.g. paying rent, meeting payroll)
  • 22 per cent are worried about having to close their business permanently

Even for those allowed to open, the future is unclear. Survey findings also indicate that 50 per cent of small businesses who are fully or partially closed, but allowed to open under provincial orders, say they have not reopened fully because sales will be too low to make it worthwhile.

“We all have a role to play in supporting small business in our province. Continued financial assistance and clear, timely communication from government is needed to help businesses transition as they reopen. By making the choice to shop locally, British Columbians can also support the small businesses that make up our local communities,” 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 http://www.cfib.ca/barometer

The provincial numbers for January were: Nova Scotia (59.2), Ontario (57.1), Alberta (55.5), BC (52.7), Saskatchewan (51.9), Manitoba (50), New Brunswick (47.8), Newfoundland (42.5), Quebec (35.7), PEI (30).

Methodology - Survey Number Ten

Results are based on 809 responses from CFIB members in British Columbia, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received between May 15 and 21, 2020. 

Methodology - Barometer

The mid-May findings are based on 1281 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received on May 19 and 20th. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.7 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 murpro@cfib.ca after 8:30 AM PT. To interview Chief Economist, Ted Mallett, about the national results, please call 416-222-8022. For more information, visit cfib.ca.

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 cfib.ca.