31 Aug 2016

Atlantic Canada business leaders call for more collaboration with government

Atlantic Canada business leaders call for more collaboration with government to improve the economic climate across the region.

HALIFAX: The results of the inaugural Atlantic Canada Business Confidence Index (BCI) reveal optimism among business leaders about the future of their own organizations, but sharply divided opinions by province related to the state of the economies across the region. Indeed, those operating in PE, NS, and NB have higher confidence than those in Newfoundland and Labrador, and are more likely to believe that their province’s economy has improved in the last year and will continue to do so going forward.

A desire for a more collaborative relationship between government and business surfaced as a common theme throughout results. While leaders believe more could be done among the business community to foster a positive economic environment, they identified the top three issues of government and politics, high taxes and a lack of qualified employees as the most important areas needing attention. To that end, businesses are looking for reduced taxes, improved government leadership, business development and growth and more support and incentives to support small and local businesses to improve the business climate in the region. Moreover, in facing the increasing challenge of an aging and shrinking population, businesses are keen to find ways to attract young talent, and keep people in Atlantic Canada.

Turning to organizational outlooks, businesses indicate they are generally better off compared with last year, though a minority have experienced worsened conditions, more notably in Newfoundland and Labrador than in other provinces. Going forward, the bulk of businesses surveyed expect their companies to be better off in the next year, with those in NL expressing lower levels of optimism. With an anticipated net increase in the number of staff employed in Atlantic Canada and wage increases outpacing inflation, overall results paint an optimistic, if cautious future for businesses in the region, with the exception of NL, where there are definite challenges in the coming year.

Methodology: This survey represents the first iteration of the study. Sponsored by TD, the Atlantic Canada Business Confidence Index is conducted online with business leaders across Atlantic Canada, including representation of companies from all major sectors of the economy and all sizes of organization. In total, 642 surveys were completed between June 16th and July 4th, 2016.


For more information, please contact:

Margaret Chapman, Vice President, Corporate Research Associates, 902 493 3834 or mchapman@cra.ca

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Amanda Bates