Media Releases Mar 28, 2022

Rising input costs, labour pains and supply chain challenges are the top obstacles for Canadian businesses

(OTTAWA) – March 28, 2022 According to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Business Data Lab’s (BDL) analysis of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), rising input costs, labour and supply chain challenges are the top obstacles facing Canadian businesses.

“Half of Canadian businesses — that’s more than 500,000 companies — expect rising input costs to be an obstacle in the next three months. As cost pressures continue to build across the economy, an increasing share of companies expect to pass these higher costs on to consumers. This means we may be stuck with inflation that’s higher for longer than expected,” says Stephen Tapp, Chief Economist at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

“Labour markets also continue to tighten, causing increasing difficulties for companies to recruit and retain employees. The latest CSBC results suggest growing competition for talent will likely lead to rising wages and more flexible work arrangements.”

“Supply chains are also a top-of-mind concern for Canadian companies. A remarkable 72% reported that supply chain challenges worsened for their businesses over the last three months.”

And yet, despite these worries and a challenging operating context, 70% of businesses are relatively optimistic about the future — although this varies widely across industries.

“Accommodation and food services, one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic, continues to struggle when it comes to sales recovery, labour force shortages and cost pressures, which explains why they’re feeling much less optimistic than other sectors about the future,” adds Tapp.

Some other notable findings of the Business Data Lab’s Q1 CSBC analysis include:

  • 50% of businesses in Quebec are facing challenges recruiting skilled employees – higher than any other province in Canada.
  • 47% of businesses say they can’t take on more debt or are unsure if they can.
  • Almost 30% of Canadian businesses plan to offer hybrid work arrangements, with 9% going completely remote.
  • Women occupied only 37% of senior management roles in Canadian businesses.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Business Data Lab is a partnership with Statistics Canada to strengthen our understanding of Canadian business conditions and trends. The Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) surveys tens of thousands of businesses each quarter, providing analysis on the issues affecting Canadian businesses on the ground. In the Q1 survey, 17,695 Canadian businesses responded in January and February.

For the BDL’s full analysis of the Q1 survey, click here.

To learn more about the BDL and CSBC, click here.

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce — The Future of Business Success

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most activated business network — representing 450 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 200,000 businesses of all sizes, from all sectors of the economy and from every part of the country — to create the conditions for our collective success. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the undisputed champion and catalyst for the future of business success. From working with government on economy-friendly policy to providing services that inform commerce and enable trade, we give each of our members more of what they need to succeed: insight into markets, competitors and trends, influence over the decisions and policies that drive business success and impact on business and economic performance. 

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Emily Walsh
Officer, External Communications