BC Chamber-led survey reveals severe impacts taking toll, calls to action are clear
March 19, 2020, Vancouver, BC –The BC Chamber of Commerce (and its 120-member chamber network) in partnership with Small Business BC, The BC Economic Development Association, and Community Futures BC, launched a survey on March 13 to understand specific impacts BC businesses are experiencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic – and hear their proposed solutions.
As of March 18, almost 8000 businesses had responded to the survey. The final results can be found here.
The data paints a dire picture of what businesses are experiencing now and what they expect to be facing in the near future:
- 90% of businesses are “currently being impacted by COVID-19”
- Of those impacted, 83% are seeing a “drop in revenue, business, or deal flow”
- 91% anticipate a further “decrease in revenue in the near-term” [sic]
- 73% of businesses expect their revenues will drop by 50% or more (with nearly a quarter saying revenues will drop by 100%)
- Half of the respondents say they will be “temporarily shutting down” their offices.
- 64% of respondents expect to reduce their staff by over half (with a quarter saying they will be reducing their staff by 100%)
These insights have been sent to both the federal and provincial government – and the intelligence you shared with us is helping shape how government reacts to this pandemic crisis in real time.
“Public health must be the primary concern during the early days of the pandemic,” says Val Litwin, CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “We commend the federal and provincial governments for prioritizing the health and safety of its citizens above all else. We have also been reassured that government is strategically and thoughtfully looking at ways to mitigate impacts to businesses of all sizes and are working tirelessly to soften the economic impacts to British Columbians. Businesses in BC are saying that a combination of tax cuts, flexibility around tax remittances and enhanced credit access will help them weather this unprecedented storm in the short term.”
What survey respondents said
The survey revealed that self-employed and/or contract workers are gravely concerned, due to their ineligibility for Employment Insurance. One respondent says, “I am the only full-time employee, and I may need to close my business, potentially go bankrupt and lose $100,000 investment. I’ve paid into EI my entire life, except for the last year since starting my business. What services are available to me during this incredibly challenging time?”
The tourism industry and peripheral industries fear they will be particularly hard hit, with some stating they’ve already seen cancellations of 90% of bookings. “We are worried about Export Development Canada); and extending the tax filing deadline to June 1 and allowing taxpayers to defer tax payments until after August 31 (for amounts that are due after today and before September).
Sooke Survey still open
The Sooke-specific survey is still open for input. Similar, but Sooke-centric.