Canadian businesses must look beyond current pain says EY

There are several considerations needed to meet the challenges of the months ahead, meanwhile Chamber of Commerce launches Resilience Network

Canadian businesses must look beyond current pain says EY
Steve Randall

Canadian businesses need to look beyond current pain points to prepare for the challenges of the coming months to protect their people, customers and investors.

While there is no timeline for the coronavirus pandemic, EY Canada says that businesses should be preparing for potential acute issues such as lower demand, disrupted supply chains, and financial liquidity restraints.

The ‘big four’ services business advises several key factors that businesses should be considering now.

They include enhanced oversight of the challenges by boards; remaining focus on cyber security amid increased risks; reassessing cash forecasts, and liquidity and credit management; and understanding regulatory requirements on reporting negative impact.

EY also says that businesses should be aware of the tax support measures from federal and provincial governments.

For those companies with strong balance sheets, now may be a good time to consider mergers and acquisitions while some assets may be available at discount prices.

Resilience network
To support businesses, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Government of Canada to launch the Canadian Business Resilience Network (CBRN).

"We know that Canadian businesses of all sizes are facing incredible economic hardship in these difficult and uncertain times. Our government is taking strong and decisive action to provide them with immediate relief—helping them keep costs low, keep up with their operational costs like rent, and keep Canadians employed. The Canadian Business Resilience Network will support businesses and keep them informed as we navigate this incredible challenge," said Mary Ng, minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade.

The network aims to help businesses remain resilient and even prosper despite the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"COVID-19 has provided us with an unprecedented challenge, but Canadians are resilient. The Canadian Business Resilience Network is about business and government stepping up together to make sure every Canadian business has the information it needs and a fighting chance to make it through," said Jackie King, Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The CBRN has four key aims:

  • Give tools and supports to businesses in their continuity efforts – from development to implementation.
  • Provide a consistent and reliable flow of accurate and up-to-date information.
  • Work closely with federal government and within the business community to ensure the right supports are in place, and to be a conduit for information from the government to the private sector (and vice versa).
  • Aim to instil confidence in Canadian business and the economy.

Integral part of the economy
Among those supporting the CBRN campaign, is Canada Life.

"Small- and medium-sized businesses are an integral part of the Canadian economy. We recognize that many businesses are challenged right now and we are wholeheartedly committed to supporting them however we can. This campaign is one way we can do exactly that," said Jeff Macoun, president and COO at Canada Life. "This campaign aligns perfectly with our mission to improve the financial, physical and mental well-being of Canadians, and we're proud to support it."