The BC Chamber of Commerce has conducted four business surveys (through their BC MindReader platform) since the pandemic hit, taking the temperature and testing the confidence of business in surviving and recovering from COVID-19.
Survey participants came from the 1,401 member-businesses of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Business Council of British Columbia, and other partners, with the Mustel Group’s assistance.
Two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they are using some form of government support and they expect a substantial “second wave” of negative impacts should these programs expire too quickly.
They reported that only about three-in-ten businesses (28%) on government support expect to return to normal once the programs end. Of the remainder, 32% expect to reduce employee hours, 27% expect to lay-off or terminate employees, and 24% anticipate taking on debt. One-in-ten will have to close either temporarily or permanently.
Businesses say the most important components of the recovery plan are providing payroll or wage supports and reducing taxes and fees. Cutting red tape, creating better investment conditions, direct cash flow support, and making regulations more efficient are other notable suggestions.
The most useful program has been the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (53%) and, of businesses that qualify, the Canada Emergency Business Account has received strong uptake.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA), Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP), and Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF) have either not been useful or accessible to businesses with only 7%, 2%, and 1%, respectively, ranking these programs as useful. Impacts on business
The most common impact continues to be decreased sales volume, reported by 75% of businesses (no change from previous survey). And again, over four-in-ten report reducing staff hours (45% no change from last survey), laying off employees (42% down slightly from 48% in the last survey), and closing temporarily (36% down from 42%).
Continue Reading: Road to Recovery interview series with CHEK TV