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

A photo posted on Facebook under the Kelowna Alert page shows emergency vehicles blocking Westside Road. (Mark Kay photo)
Update: Westside Rd closed after vehicle crashes 100 feet down embankment

West Kelowna emergency crews performing high angle rescue

The Downtown Vernon Association is requesting free parking on Saturdays in 2021 to boost recovery efforts of businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Free Saturday parking in Vernon would boost business recovery: DVA

Downtown Vernon Association calls for free parking every Saturday to support local businesses amid COVID-19

(Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon house fire deemed suspicious

An investigation into the Wednesday morning fire has been turned over to the RCMP

Snowfall in the Okanagan shatters records. (Contributed)
Snowfall in Okanagan breaks records dated back to 1899

Penticton has received over 10 cm today, surpassing the 8 cm record set in 1957

Multiple crashes are keeping emergency crews busy on North Okanagan roads Friday, Oct. 23. (Vernon North Okanagan RCMP photo)
UPDATE: Vernon motorists winter driving skills rusty

First snowfall sees numerous accidents, yet people still not driving to conditions

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO)
Police watchdog clears Kelowna RCMP in connection to man’s death

The man died following a single vehicle crash on Highway 97 in June

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
UPDATE: Collision cleared, Highway 33 at Idabel Lake reopens

The Kelowna RCMP are urging drivers to stay away from the area

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

Most Read