Business confidence at an all-time low in Ontario: study

FILE-Space available on storefronts is shown on Queen Street in Toronto on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Health officials and the government have asked that people stay inside to help curb the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy: CP Images/ Nathan Denette)

A new study by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce says business confidence has reached a new low.

The 2023 Ontario Economic Report (OER) illustrates that business owners have little confidence in the economy but also remain hopeful about the future of their organizations. 

“Labour shortages, inflation, health care system vulnerabilities, and forecasts of an economic contraction are dampening confidence in the province’s economic outlook,” Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said in a news release on Tuesday. 

The survey says 16 per cent of Ontario businesses aren’t hopeful that the economy will improve. This statistic has decreased by 29 per cent since last year. However, 53 per cent are optimistic about the outlook of their organizations. 

Rossi shares that although business owners are apprehensive, they are dedicated to the personal growth and development of their companies. 

“Promisingly, most businesses feel confident they can withstand these headwinds and continue to grow in the year ahead,” he added. 

The OER also discusses public policy and employee health and well-being, despite gaps in addressing these issues. 

“Leaders in the public and private sectors must invest strategically in productivity, resilience, and long-term growth,” Claudia Dessanti, senior manager of policy at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said. “Unsurprisingly, labour shortages continue to dominate as a source of concern directly impacting most employers and 87 percent of large businesses.”

The OER informed by the Business Confidence Survey (BCS) was conducted from Oct.18 to Nov. 30, 2022, with responses from 1,912 organizations in Ontario. 

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