Canadian business leaders in wait-and-see mode, says survey

Optimism and pessimism perfectly balanced as economic and business concerns mix

Canadian business leaders in wait-and-see mode, says survey

The Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) has released its latest Business Monitor report, which indicates that optimism and pessimism about the economy are running neck and neck among Canadian business leaders.

The report draws from a Nielsen survey of over 380 professional accountants holding senior positions in industry, which was conducted in Q3 immediately after the recent federal election.

The report found 28% were optimistic about the Canadian economy over the next 12 months, while another 28% said they felt pessimistic. The largest segment, representing 44% of respondents, reported feeling neither optimism nor pessimism.

The overall level of optimism went down from the second quarter, when 31% of respondents said they were optimistic. Meanwhile, pessimism went up from 24%.

The survey also dived into the challenges that business leaders have their eyes on. When asked to list top challenges to economic growth in the country, 10% cited having a minority government in power, making it the fifth most pressing concern among respondents. The other issues that took higher priority were:

  • Uncertainty around the Canadian economy (15%);
  • US protectionism (11%);
  • The state of the US economy (11%); and
  • Lack of skilled workers (11%)

"It makes sense for Canadian business leaders to be taking a wait and see approach," said Joy Thomas, president and CEO, CPA Canada. "So much is in play when you consider there is a minority government in Canada along with the potential for economic surprises whether they be stateside or overseas, especially when it comes to trade."

When it came to their own businesses, the respondents projected a more confident attitude. Asked what change they projected over the next 12 months, 66% said they expect an increase in revenue; 59% forecast an increase in profits; and 45% anticipated an increase in employees.

On the other hand, just 19% projected a decrease in revenue; 25% a decrease in profits; and 16% a decrease in employees.