Survey finds B.C. business community optimistic

The BC Chamber of Commerce released its Collective Perspective Survey Report Tuesday night in Kelowna

Confidence and optimism were the biggest take-aways from the B.C. Chamber of Commerce’s latest member survey.

Public opinion researcher Bruce Anderson of Abacus Data, presented the Collective Perspective Survey Report Tuesday during the chamber’s dinner with B.C.’s Deputy Ministers at the Delta Grand Okanagan in Kelowna.

“The numbers are telling us that a change in government did not give way to a collective gasp about the prospects of these businesses going forward,” said Anderson, reflecting on the results of the 877 interviews completed.

“Whether that is the same view people will have next year remains to be seen, but there is a resilience we seem to have and the idea that our business community is not that fragile.”

When asked how business is today, 94 per cent of respondents answered positively. Findings showed 17 per cent said their business was in “very good shape,” 44 per cent said in “good shape” and 33 per cent said in “acceptable shape.”

The outlook for the next three to five years was also favourable with 95 per cent answering positively and just one per cent responding that the prospects for their business are very poor.

“This is not an angry business community. This is a community that is saying, with the combination of things that are going well, macro economically, and the taxes I pay and the regulations in place, I am able to have a successful business now and I think the outlook is pretty good going forward,” said Anderson.

Respondents were also asked about biggest impacts to the health and prospects of their business with the top five answers coming in as the local economy, the B.C. economy, the Canadian economy, the cost of labour and provincial taxes.

Businesses also reported the local, provincial and national economies are helping and 25 per cent of members said that Canada’s current image is also helping build business.

“The idea that Canada is well viewed throughout the world is something people are paying attention to in a way they didn’t before,” said Anderson.

“It is not just the notion that we have some sort of weird celebrity now. It is that there is a sense we have more things going for us, and more things that are stable, in the way we exist as a country.”

Not everything is rosy in B.C., however. The affordability of housing was the top concern among members, as were federal taxes, provincial taxes, access to labour and cost of labour.

When given the statement “The cost of housing in parts of B.C. has become a real problem for the province,” 60 per cent said they strongly agreed, while an additional 30 per cent said they agreed.

A reported 91 per cent said they believed that housing affordability will cause issues with attracting young people to live and work in B.C.

“This is a really critical issue for B.C. businesses, they see it as something that has the potential to change the macro economic forecast for B.C.”

When asked about the possibility of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ending, 38 per cent believed it would have a negative impact on their business while 60 per cent felt neutral on the matter and two per cent felt it would have a positive impact.

If NAFTA does end, respondents generally agreed (80 per cent) that Canada should seek out a standalone free trade agreement with the U.S.

Feelings on trade with China seemed to have improved year over year. In this 2017 survey, 68 percent of respondents stated free trade with China is good for B.C., versus 58 per cent of respondents in 2016.

“It wasn’t that many years ago that when you talked free trade with China people would say ‘wait, wait we just got over being scared about free trade with Mexico, how are we possibly going to survive free trade with China?’ But, today, the average B.C. business says lets go for it,” added Anderson.

When asked about the Kinder Morgan pipeline, 51 per cent supported the project, 28 per cent were neutral and 21 per cent opposed it.

When divided into regions the pipeline had far more support in B.C.’s north (68 per cent) and B.C.’s Thompson/Okanagan (63 per cent).

The least support for the pipeline project was found on Vancouver Island with 40 per cent in favour and 37 per cent against.

“The broad confidence and optimism is the most interesting piece, I think,” said Anderson. “It is about who we are as a country and about how capable we are at building strong businesses.”

The province-wide survey was sent out to local chambers via email between Oct. 25 and Nov. 24.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

Colwood eyes upgrades to recreation area near Lookout Lake Dam

Upgrades to dam estimated to be complete before end of year

Crime stats show a shift in Oak Bay during COVID-19

Thefts from automobiles, marinas up this spring

Eight people arrested on Pandora Avenue after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

COVID-19 cases next to nil on Vancouver Island

Only one COVID-19 patient being treated at Island Health’s hospitals

Andrew Weaver says he was ready to defeat John Horgan government

Independent MLA blasts B.C. Greens over LNG opposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Commercial rent relief applications open as feds encourage landlords to apply

Program would see government cover 50 per cent of the rent

44% fewer passengers flew on Canadian airlines in March 2020 than in 2019

COVID-19 pandemic has hit airlines hard as travel remains low

For the record

A correction to the May 20 Rickter Scale

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C. residents can now reserve a provincial campsite for a stay starting June 1

Campsite reservations will only be available to British Columbians

Most Read