Canadian business owners are bullish on the economy's rebound from COVID-19, with a new report finding investment plans and sales expectations for 2022 exceed pre-pandemic levels.
However, the outlook for the New Year is clouded by an ongoing labour shortage and supply chain disruptions that are expected to continue in the coming months, the Business Development Bank of Canada found in its annual survey of business owners.
The latest outlook found that 84% of businesses are planning to maintain investments or invest more in their business over the coming 12 months. In addition, 83% of businesses expect their sales will increase or remain the same in the next year, with accommodation and food service businesses the most optimistic.
While economic growth slowed in the fall, the report said the Canadian economy should return to pre-pandemic levels in early 2022. Still, labour shortages are expected to emerge as the greatest impediment to investments in 2022, the report said.
More than half of the businesses surveyed by the Business Development Bank of Canada have encountered problems finding qualified workers, the highest proportion since the bank started its annual survey in 2019.
Businesses in the accommodation and food services sectors are the mostly likely to be impacted by labour shortages, the survey found. It found that an aging population and lower immigration due to the pandemic could further worsen the labour crunch, with the Atlantic provinces expected to suffer the most.
The Business Development Bank of Canada conducted its annual survey in the fall with a thousand small- and medium-sized business owners in Canada responding to the online poll.