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Business Barometer®: BC small business optimism dips downward

Despite a slight downturn, BC entrepreneurs remain nation's fourth most confident


VANCOUVER, March 29, 2018 – The latest monthly Business Barometer survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reveal British Columbia’s small business optimism fell 3.6 points in March, reaching a level of 65.9.

The March results mark a turn for British Columbia; after three months of steady increases, the province’s business optimism has taken a step back. Despite this, BC holds a 5.2 point lead over the national index (60.7). Entrepreneurial confidence in BC places fourth highest in the country.

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.

“Despite seeing a downturn this month, the British Columbian entrepreneurial spirit remains relatively strong,” said Aaron Aerts, Western Economist. “But further declines would push the index below a healthy level. In this context, it is critical action is taken to help promote a small business friendly environment.”

To view the full report, please visit

BC hiring intentions remained flat in March, seeing no change from the previous month. Twenty-seven per cent of small business owners plan to increase full-time staff in the next three months, the same as in February. In contrast, nine per cent are looking to cut back, also representing no change from the previous month.

Fourty-nine per cent of entrepreneurs believe the general state of health of their business is good, representing a five point decrease from February. This compares to ten per cent of BC business owners who describe their business’ health as poor, which has increased one point since February.

The national Business Barometer index in March was 60.7, down 1.7 points from February. The other provincial numbers were: Nova Scotia (75.0), Quebec (72.6), PEI (66.0), British Columbia (65.9), New Brunswick (62.5), Saskatchewan (62.0), Manitoba (61.2), Ontario (57.1), Alberta (56.3) and Newfoundland (52.7). 

The March 2018 findings are based on 754 responses, collected from a stratified random sample of CFIB members, to a controlled-access web survey. Data reflects responses received through to March 20. Findings are statistically accurate to +/- 3.6 per cent 19 times in 20.

To arrange an interview with Aaron Aerts about the BC results, please call 604-684-5325 or email [email protected] after 8:30 AM PST. 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.

March 29, 2018

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