For Immediate Release
May 12, 2022
VANCOUVER, B.C. —Today, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade is releasing the results of a survey of our members regarding key issues for the business community in the upcoming municipal elections this fall.
The survey found that more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents believe it has become harder to do business in the region in the last five years, with nearly the same number (67%) indicating that the possibility of businesses closing due to rising costs is a “major concern”. According to the businesses surveyed, the top five issues facing municipalities are: permitting, licensing and red tape reduction (50%), housing (48%), crime and public safety (44%), economic or business-friendly policies (44%) and taxes (35%).
“The business community is calling on municipal governments to streamline permitting, increase the supply of a range of housing options, and take meaningful action to reduce street-level crime and target repeat offenders.” said Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “Public safety concerns have not registered this high on businesses’ radars in recent memory, and we are calling for a multi-pronged, cross-government solution to improve the situation on the ground.”
Other Key Findings
Businesses were most satisfied with their local governments’ response on core services, climate change, culture, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Members were most unsatisfied with the response on homelessness (68%), housing (68%), ease of doing business (58%), and public safety (47%).
Housing availability and affordability are making it challenging for businesses to recruit and retain talent, and there is strong support in the business community for aggressive action from governments to address the problem.
- A strong majority of survey respondents (83%) indicated the cost of housing in Greater Vancouver has a large impact (40%) or some impact (43%) on their ability to recruit or retain employees.
- Survey respondents strongly support municipal zoning changes to allow various kinds of multi-family units to be built in areas currently zoned for single-family detached homes, with a strong majority (70%) supportive of upzoning all or some areas.
- Most respondents (79%) support provincial intervention if cities reject affordable housing projects, but a third (32%) of all respondents indicated that proposed legislation is too heavy-handed.
- The business community expressed support for municipalities prioritizing supply-side housing policies (45%) while recognizing the importance of policies addressing both supply and demand (44%).
In order to spur economic recovery, businesses are looking to municipalities to redouble their efforts to streamline services for business owners.
- The vast majority of businesses surveyed (88%) think more coordination between municipalities on economic development and licensing is needed.
- Nearly three-quarters (72%) of businesses surveyed believe local governments need to better plan for the housing, infrastructure and services growth required to meet the needs of a growing population.
- Only a small minority (10%) of respondents believe increased property taxes have been invested in a way that improves city services.
- Improving services for businesses is a high priority for respondents, with less than a third (31%) reporting a somewhat positive/helpful experience engaging with local government on issues relating to their business.
- More transit investment remains key to combating congestion, with more than half (62%) of respondents believing the region needs more investment in transit to keep up with the needs of the population, with broad support for extending the SkyTrain to UBC (83%), Rapid Transit to the North Shore (81%), and SkyTrain to Langley (76%). A substantial majority of respondents (71%) support an Indigenous-led bid for Vancouver to host the 2030 Olympic Winter Games.
- Businesses surveyed support a range of options to address the diminishing supply of employment lands for industry, including the creation of an industrial land reserve (49%), densification and intensification of industrial land (45%) and preservation zoning (37%).
The 2022 Municipal Elections Survey contains data collected from 180 Greater Vancouver Board of Trade members between Apr. 4 and Apr. 22, 2022.
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 positively 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 unique Signature Programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events businesses in the country, providing a platform for national and international business and thought leaders to further enlighten B.C.’s business leaders.
David Van Hemmen
Director, Advocacy and Stakeholder Relations
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade