For Immediate Release
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
VANCOUVER, B.C. — New data from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions for Metro Vancouver show that financial pressures are persisting while the economy is slowing with inflation, rising operating expenses, and supply chain issues continuing to hamper businesses.
Top obstacles for Vancouver businesses over the next 3 months are rising inflation (63.2%), labour challenges (50.2%) and a rising cost of input (45.2%). Over half of the businesses surveyed (52.8%) anticipate an increase in operating expenses in the coming quarter, while almost half of them expect a meaningful decline in profitability (41.1%) and just over a third anticipate a decline in cash reserves (34.8%).
Moreover, just under half (43.9%) of Vancouver businesses found transportation costs and availability an obstacle when conducting interprovincial trade, with a large majority (81.8%) being majorly or moderately impacted by transportation costs and availability. This summer’s Vancouver Port strike added to the financial pressures felt by the transportation sector and businesses that rely on it as an estimated $10.7 billion of trade was disrupted.
“Despite record population growth, Metro Vancouver’s economy is showing signs of slowing.” said Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “As governments make budgetary decision for 2024, they need to ensure that our local small businesses are being supported instead of adding more costs, fees, and red tape which will only add to the uncertainty and cause the economy to deteriorate. A concern highlighted by our ‘Counting the Costs’ report, which calculated businesses will face nearly $6.5 billion in additional government-imposed costs between 2022-2024”
These figures come in the wake of the recent report on the critical shortage of industrial land in Metro Vancouver, released by the Board of Trade and NAIOP Vancouver. The report highlights that over the past 4.5 years, an estimated 5.1 million sq ft of space has been taken up by firms in Calgary rather than Metro Vancouver. This includes firms that have left the region and others that preferred to invest in Vancouver but instead chose Calgary. The economic impact is estimated to be the loss of 6,300 direct jobs, $477 million in wages, and nearly $500 million in GDP.
“With affordability, climate change, and geopolitical issues likely continuing to exacerbate supply chain challenges, Metro Vancouver must look at ways of build up the local economy. As the gateway to the western trade corridor Vancouver plays a crucial role in Canada’s reliability as a trading partner and by addressing the industrial lands shortage, we can lower transportation costs and increase benefits here at home.”
For every 1% increase in industrial land available for jobs and production, an estimated additional 126,100 jobs are created and $12.2 billion in GDP is generated for B.C.
“Re-focusing regional land use planning to prioritize local housing, local food, and local production and jobs, as recommended in our latest report, will deliver better results of British Columbians and B.C. businesses, “ concluded Anderson.
About the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions and Report
The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) was created in the spring of 2020 by Statistics Canada in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to provide timely, relevant data on business conditions in Canada, as well as business expectations and views on emerging issues. The data is used by governments, chambers of commerce, industry associations and researchers to monitor evolving business conditions and devise policies to support Canadian business. The Q3 2023 CSBC was collected from July 4 to August 8, 2023. The survey was conducted by Statistics Canada via electronic questionnaire, using a stratified random sample of establishments with employees. The 2023 Q3 CSBC survey results for Metro Vancouver are based on responses from 683 employers.
The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions Report (CSBCR) presents in-depth quarterly analysis of the CSBC conducted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Business Data Lab. The Business Data Lab collaborates with the Canadian Chamber’s network of boards of trade and chambers of commerce to distribute and amplify CSBC insights to the local level.
About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Western Canada's leading business association, engaging our members to inform public policy at all levels of government and empowering them to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through unique programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events platforms in the country, providing a stage for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.