- Nearly half of businesses say their sector will improve over the next six months
- Access to skilled workers, new business attraction and corporate taxes are top issues
- Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations create a positive business climate
Lead by the retail, technology and construction sectors the Ottawa Business Confidence Index score increased to 124.0 from 115.2 in October 2015, a clear indication of renewed optimism among business leaders in Ottawa.
Despite the positive economic outlook, business leaders expressed concerns about issues central to operations. 47 per cent of respondents identified a lack of skilled workforce as one of the top most important issues for Ottawa businesses over the coming five years, followed by new business attraction at 39 per cent and corporate taxes at 34 per cent.
“Ottawa’s star as a G7 Capital is on the rise and the issues identified in the Ottawa Business Growth Survey provide the perfect catalyst for a deeper discussion for improved growth” said Ian Faris, President and CEO, Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. “We have all the right elements to create a modern, innovative and diverse metropolitan city, it’s simply a matter of how fast and which pace we get it going.”
Meanwhile, further optimism was on the horizon. Canada’s 150th birthday party, to be celebrated in style next year in Ottawa, led 43 per cent of respondents to expect a somewhat or very positive impact on their business.
However, a possible impact on future confidence comes from the 2016 federal budget, the first for the new federal Liberals. Just 19 per cent of business leaders felt the budget was good, while 29 per cent felt it was acceptable given the circumstances, and 33 per cent found it to be poor or very poor.
With corporate taxes listed as the third most significant issue for Ottawa businesses, the tax increases of the federal and provincial governments led 56 per cent of business leaders to feel that these changes will have a negative impact on their business.
“The Ottawa Business Growth Survey is where we get a chance to take the pulse of our city” said Micheal Burch, Managing Partner, Welch LLP. “The results of this survey allow us all to form our opinions with respect to the trends and leanings of our community going forward. This is invaluable information for anyone required to make important decisions.”
The Ottawa Business Growth Survey is the most in-depth and independent study of the local economy with more than 650 business leaders responding to the survey, providing a comprehensive business overview of the National Capital Region. The survey is co-presented by the Ottawa Business Journal, Creasa, Gowling WLG, and RBC Royal Bank.
View the full survey results at: http://bit.ly/OBGS16lpr