Business Barometer: Small business optimism in B.C. falls below key threshold

Issues like proposed Employer Health Tax and pipeline dispute weighing on entrepreneurs’ minds

VANCOUVER, April 26, 2018 – The latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveal British Columbia’s small business optimism fell 4.5 points in April, reaching a level of 61.4, well below the 65 point threshold that indicates a healthy, growing economy.

Small business optimism across Canada declined in April, and B.C. was no exception. Despite this, BC confidence still ranks 4th highest in the country, and holds a 4.8 point lead over the national index (56.6).

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 the economy is growing at its potential.

“There are a series of issues weighing on business owners’ minds, like the proposed Employer Health Tax, the pipeline dispute, and looming minimum wage increases,” said Richard Truscott, Vice-President, BC and Alberta. “It is critical the BC government ensures their policies do not hinder small business confidence.”

Twenty-three per cent of small business owners in April said they plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, showing a four point decrease from the previous month. In contrast, ten per cent are looking to cut back, representing a one point increase from March.

Forty-six per cent of entrepreneurs believe the general state of health of their business is good, representing a three point decrease from March. This compares to twelve per cent of BC business owners who describe their business’ health as poor, which has increased two points.

The national Business Barometer index in April was 56.6, down 4.1 points from March. The other provincial numbers were: Quebec (68.7); Nova Scotia (67.9); Prince Edward Island (65.3); British Columbia (61.4); New Brunswick (60.9); Manitoba (59.9); Ontario (56.9); Alberta (54.7); Saskatchewan (54.6); and Newfoundland and Labrador (50.8).

To view the full barometer report, please visit

The April 2018 findings are based on 740 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflects responses received through to April 16, 2018. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Richard Truscott or Aaron Aerts about the BC results, please call 604-684-5325 or email 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 is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in B.C.