BC entrepreneurs less pessimistic in April, small business focus needed in provincial economic recovery strategy

VANCOUVER, April 29, 2020 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for British Columbia rose 8.2 points reaching an index of 46, 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 they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. As British Columbia looks ahead in developing an economic relaunch strategy, a small business lens is necessary to streamline the transition. 

“The month’s barometer results indicate small business owners are feeling less pessimistic than they did in March," says Muriel Protzer, Senior Policy Analyst, BC and the North. "While ongoing financial support from government is helping keep many businesses afloat, those receiving the benefits cannot rely on them indefinitely and some continue to fall through the cracks,” adds Protzer.

Additional survey data from CFIB finds that 83 per cent of businesses believe it is critical they make more sales soon to survive and become less reliant on government subsides (13 per cent disagree, 4 per cent unsure). 

“The province of BC will play an integral part in transitioning businesses and workers off of government support programs as we look to reopen parts of the economy,” adds Protzer. “Early preparation for a recovery phase is important to ensure businesses and residents are provided clear messaging on guidelines.”

Furthermore, 75 per cent of BC businesses are confident they could reopen quickly if current restrictions were lifted (19 per cent disagree, 6 per cent unsure). As the province looks to develop its economic recovery strategy, small business owners see the following initiatives to take priority: 

  • Keeping taxes on small businesses at an acceptable level (88 per cent agree);
  • Reduce red tape affecting businesses (65 per cent agree);
  • Introducing campaigns encouraging consumers to shop at local businesses (62 per cent agree);
  • Continued financial help (57 per cent agree); and
  • Ensuring the availability of personal protective equipment and mass testing to help people feel safe (54 per cent agree)

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.

To view the full report, please visit http://www.cfib.ca/barometer  

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).

Methodology - Survey Number Seven
Results are based on 983 responses from CFIB members in British Columbia, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received between April 24 and 27, 2020. 

Methodology - Survey Number Six
Results are based on 996 responses from CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received between April 17 and 23, 2020. 

Methodology - Barometer
Mid-April 2020 findings are based on 1,786 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received on April 20 to 22. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.3 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 msbc@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.