The B.C. 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.
Nearly 1200 businesses of all sizes, representing all sectors of the economy and from all regions of the province participated in the survey.
A staggering 92 per cent of businesses believe their businesses are in “good or acceptable shape” today, and approximately four out of five businesses expect that they will grow their businesses over the next five years.
Almost 90 per cent of respondents agreed that B.C. is “one of the finest places on the planet” while almost 70 per cent agreed that B.C. is “the best place to do business in Canada.”
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.
Under the section “what matters to business success,” respondents identified the four most important factors affecting their business – taxes, regulations, access to labour and cost of labour.
When it comes to taxes, the B.C. Chamber says the province already boasts competitive taxes; however, they say it is clear that businesses are looking for continued improvement. The B.C. Chamber has advocated for a made-in-B.C. value added tax at the provincial level as well as a more competitive property tax rate at the local level.
In regard to regulations, the B.C. Chamber says the best way to make business easy is by cutting red tape. The B.C. Chamber says their network remains focused on tackling this issue by finding ways to streamline regulations.
When it comes to access to labour, the B.C. Chamber says 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.”
In regard to cost of labour, the B.C. Chamber says 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 B.C. Chamber members, the answer is centred on certainty and predictability.”
Val Litwin, President and CEO of the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, said this pan-provincial snapshot offers a unique look into the hearts and minds of B.C. businesses.
“We hope this survey will be useful to all parties heading into the provincial election,” he said.
The B.C. Chamber represents more than 125 chambers of commerce and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province.