As pandemic restrictions ease, Canadians business leaders are optimistic about the future of their companies. (iStock)

Canadian business owners optimistic

New public opinion polling suggests that 78 per cent of Canada’s mid-to-large size business owners feel optimistic about their companies’ future post pandemic. As restrictions ease, 53 per cent think their business will change for the better in some way. The results were published in the 2021 Canadian Business Outlook Report by one of Canada’s largest banks, Scotiabank.

There are still concerns. Forty per cent of respondents are worried about the state of the economy and 39 per cent cite further government restrictions due to the pandemic. But by February 2021, 23 per cent of respondents felt their company was doing better than before the health crisis and 23 per cent felt they were doing the same. 

Sixty-eight per cent expect to return to their pre-pandemic situation within six months or less and 81 per cent plan to make investments during that time. Among the top investments planned are in technology and hiring more employees.  

A majority of business owners (63 per cent) said bank or government assistance programs were a key source of support. The Canadian government offered a wage subsidy program (CEWS) and an interest-free loan program for small businesses (CEBA). More than three-quarters of respondents felt supported by their financial institutions during the pandemic. 

More than half of respondents (53 per cent) said they would invest in technology as a top priority for the post-pandemic recovery. (iStock)

‘Remarkable resiliency’ cited

“Canadian business owners have demonstrated remarkable resiliency and adaptability throughout the pandemic,” said Kevin Teslyk, Executive Vice President, Canadian Business Banking for Scotiabank. “In our conversations with our clients, we’ve consistently heard that the pandemic has provided them with an opportunity to re-think their long-term priorities.” 

Two online surveys conducted for Scotiabank involved financial decision makers at Canadian businesses with annual revenue of between five and 500 million dollars. One done from February 18 to 22, 2021 involved 310 surveys. The other was done from October 21 to November 3, 2020 and involved 305 completed surveys.

Scotiabank’s advice for business recovery and growth included planning for liquidity and cash flow, investing the the workforce, grow digital capabilities, test new business models and reach out to the bank.

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