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.

 

Just Posted

High hazard in downtown Trail

Roofing work began early Monday morning at the Trail Memorial Centre

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

Second hospital road part of plan, says Trail mayor

Martin was in Whistler last week for the UBCM; city delegation met with health ministry

Participation by women in West Kootenay/Boundary elections up slightly

More running than in 2014, but about same number as 2011

Syringa Creek fire ‘being held’

The fire has burned 3193 hectares; Deer Creek fire is also “being held” at 3849 hectares

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read