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For Immediate Release
October 8, 2020

VANCOUVER, B.C. — One-in-four businesses in Greater Vancouver do not expect to survive more than 12 months under current economic conditions.

For those that remain, it will be anything but business as usual in the wake of COVID-19. Indeed, only 40% of businesses expect to return to regular operations in the wake of the pandemic with layoffs (17%), limited capacity (26%), and reduced employee hours (17%) the most significant concerns facing Greater Vancouver’s business community.

With 150,000 jobs lost in Greater Vancouver since the start of the pandemic, it is no wonder Economic Recovery is the key issue for respondents (69%) as B.C. gets ready to go to the polls on October 24. While businesses want to know what B.C.’s next government will do in terms of immediate support, they equally desire a vision for the future of the economy.

This is the stark future that is being presented by a recent survey that was conducted by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT) in partnership with the Mustel Group. The survey results were released today and presented to the leaders of B.C.’s three main parties at a special GVBOT event to discuss the ballot box issues facing B.C.’s business community ahead of the election on October 24.

Key findings

Election priorities

The majority of businesses would like to see the Government do more on a number of issues impacting their businesses.

  • 69% believe more action is needed to provide a vision for the future of Greater Vancouver’s economy. 63% believe that not enough is being done on the availability and affordability of housing.
  • Reducing permitting processes (62%), training the workforce (53%) and growing B.C.’s tech ecosystem (50%) were also flagged as areas for improvement.
  • 62% of respondents believe the Government should do more to prioritize major infrastructure projects.
  • While seven-in-ten businesses are aware of the current Government’s economic recovery plan, two-thirds (65%) are not confident that it will help their overall economic recovery.

Better business support

Greater Vancouver’s business community believes that a number of direct supports need to be offered to spur the region’s economic recovery. Our Members believe the most pressing measures the B.C. Government should prioritize are:

  1. Creating better/more competitive conditions for investment in the province (43%)
  2. Reducing the administrative burden or making regulations more efficient (41%)
  3. Financial support such as payroll/wage supports, providing capital or reducing taxes and fees (39%)
  4. Supporting sectors such as tourism and travel that are positive economic multipliers for the region (38%)
  5. Reduced fees (33%), eliminating PST (32%), and cutting commercial property taxes (30%) were also highlighted as direct support measures that businesses deemed most important to their survival.

Other pandemic impacts

Businesses appear to be approaching an employee crisis. Since the onset of COVID-19, businesses have observed:

  • Increased mental health concerns among employees (60%).
  • Loneliness and disconnection was noted as another pressing mental health concern (54%).

For more survey results and insight into our region’s economic recovery, click here to access GVBOT’s Provincial Election Dashboard.

Quotes

“The stark reality that this survey lays bare is that many businesses in Greater Vancouver are hanging by a thread. Both through this survey and in our conversations with Members, the message that’s coming through loud and clear is that action needs to be taken to not only help them survive, but also to mitigate the long-term economic challenges posed by this virus.

The impact on our communities, our economy and our downtown core should we lose a quarter of businesses over the next 12 month is almost unthinkable. And whoever wins the election on October 24 will need to act fast to stoke the fires of economic recovery and set B.C. on a course to help the private sector recover.”
Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.

“The survey indicates that many businesses are still struggling and are anxious for economic recovery measures. They suggest many potential areas for expanding efforts and see economic strategies as the key election issue that will impact their vote.” Evi Mustel, Principal Mustel Group

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About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Pacific Canada's leading business association, engaging members to impact public policy at all levels of government and 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 four unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events programs in the country, providing a platform for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.

About Mustel Group
The Mustel Group is a team of collaborative experts delivering customized market research solutions for clients in both the public and private sectors. We have helped organizations maximize their potential for over 25 years.

About the survey
The Greater Vancouver Board of Trade with assistance by Mustel Group has conducted a survey among its members to measure opinions on various election issues of relevance and the performance of the current provincial government.  A total of 367 Members completed the survey from September 24 to 30, 2020.

Media contact:

Daniel Bettridge
Communications Manager
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade

604-640-5450 

 

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