Tourism, clean energy to lead future of economy, B.C. businesses say
The BC Chamber’s province-wide survey discovered a strong confidence among the business community in both the current health of their businesses and their future outlook on the economy.
The Collective Perspective survey results were presented by respected Canadian public opinion researcher Bruce Anderson of Abacus Data at the BC Chamber’s Dinner with B.C.’s Deputy Ministers on November 9, 2016.
“This pan-provincial snapshot offers a unique look into the hearts and minds of B.C. businesses,” said Val Litwin, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “We hope this survey will be useful to all parties heading into the provincial election.”
Nearly 1200 businesses of all sizes, representing all sectors of the economy and from all regions of the province participated in the survey.
“I was impressed to see such a high response rate given the level of detail we wanted from this survey,” said Bruce Anderson of Abacus Data. “It really speaks to the power and strength of the BC Chamber network.”
Below are several highlights extracted from the survey:
- An impressive 92% of businesses believe their businesses are in good or acceptable shape today (refer to pg. 8 of report).
- Approximately 4/5 of B.C. businesses surveyed expect that they will grow their businesses over the next five years (refer to pg. 12 of report).
- A large majority of respondents believe the government is supportive of B.C.’s business community, with the provincial government taking the highest praise, followed by the federal government and then local government (refer to pg. 16 of report).
- Respondents expressed that many sectors of B.C.’s economy will become “more important” over the next five years to ten years, with Tourism, Clean Technology, International Trade and Health Services emerging as the top sectors (refer to pg. 17 of report).
- Respondents also expressed that even the province’s most well-established industries like Forestry and Mining will become “more important” to the business landscape over the next three to five years (refer to pg. 17 of report).
Under the section “what matters to business success” our respondents identified the four most important factors affecting their business where they need more help (refer to summary graph on pg. 25 of report):
Insight #1: Taxes on business
B.C. already boasts competitive taxes, however it is clear that our network is looking for continued improvement. The BC Chamber advocates for a made-in-B.C. value added tax (VAT) at the provincial level (see the BC Policy and Positions manual starting at page 113), as well as a more competitive property tax rate at the local level (see the BC Policy and Positions manual starting at page 44).
Insight # 2: Regulations on business
The best way to make business easy is by cutting red tape. The BC Chamber network remains focused on tackling this issue by finding ways to streamline regulations (see the BC Policy and Positions manual starting at page 244).
Insight # 3: Access to labour
B.C.’s businesses must have access to the skill and talent they need to grow their businesses. Our network has expressed the need for both the provincial and federal government to continue allocating resources into timely access to labour (see the BC Policy and Positions manual starting at page 170).
Insight # 4: Cost of labour
The cost of labour is usually a company’s largest expense, particularly for small businesses. While the provincial government works diligently to balance cost pressures with tax relief for business, issues like minimum wage increases continue to create challenges. For BC Chamber members, the answer is centred on certainty and predictability (see the BC Policy and Positions manual on page 174).
“The BC Chamber has already shown leadership in these insight areas through our robust policies that we build in partnership with the business community,” said Litwin. “But it confirms that we need to continue working with government to create the most business friendly jurisdiction in North America.”
Access the Collective Perspective Survey Report here.
The BC Chamber is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in the province. Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce is “The Voice of Business in BC.”
- 30 -
Communications Coordinator, BC Chamber of Commerce