BC October Barometer: short-term small business optimism slips

VANCOUVER, October 29, 2020 – The monthly Business Barometer® index for British Columbia shows short-term optimism fell 3.4 points reaching and index of 37.1, while the long-term optimism grew 1 point reaching an index of 60.3 according to the latest survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The disparity between the two indicators suggests small businesses have a steep hill to climb on the path to recovery, but are optimistic that recovery is indeed in their future. 

“The October Business Barometer results paint a stark reality that things may get worse before they get better,” says Muriel Protzer, Senior Policy Analyst, BC and the North. “Small businesses are still struggling to recover revenues. While entrepreneurs are feeling warmer about the future of their business, the threats and stresses of today remain significant hurdles,” adds Protzer.

CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard shows only 32 per cent of SMEs in BC are making normal revenues. Additional financial help and flexibility in the province is needed. While the new Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant was intended to help businesses by offering more financial flexibility, strict eligibility requirements are seeming to exclude or deter many business owners from applying. 

“Targeting financial relief to businesses who need help the most is the right idea. But as currently designed, the grant is too restrictive and excludes far too many businesses,” says Protzer. The Federation has seen an influx in calls from business owners voicing their disappointment upon learning they are not eligible for the grant but desperately need the help. The CFIB is urging the province to take immediate action to fix the grant and start designing other support measures in the event of more business closures. 

BC ordered banquet halls and nightclubs to close back in September. Other provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec, have issued even stricter closures of certain commercial sectors. With rising case numbers in the province, many small business owners fear a second wave of business closures in BC could be crippling. “Support measures must be in place and readily accessible if there are future business closure orders. Small business owners cannot wait for help,” says Protzer. “If action isn’t taken today, long-term small business optimism is likely to deteriorate”. 

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

The provincial numbers for the 12-month indicator in October were: Nova Scotia (63.1), BC (60.3), Saskatchewan (57.9), Ontario (57.3), Manitoba (56.1), New Brunswick (56.1), Alberta (52), Newfoundland (49.2), PEI (44), and Quebec (42.2).

Methodology - Barometer
The October findings are based on 1151 responses from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflect responses received from October 5 to 19. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 2.9 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.