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'Businesses are not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel,' says Ontario Chamber survey

Second COVID wave dips business confidence in economy to lowest level since 2011
Downtown-small biz
(Dryden Economic Development photo)

Business confidence is slipping in Ontario with the onset of the second wave of the pandemic.

“The second wave of this pandemic and prolonged uncertainty about the future are taking their toll on businesses,” said Rocco Rossi, Ontario Chamber of Commerce president-CEO in a news release.

“Confidence in Ontario’s economic future has dropped to an unprecedented low.”

The Ontario Chamber released new survey data this week, collected from Oct. 8 to Nov. 3 from its 134 local chambers and boards of trade. A total of 873 complete survey responses were gathered.

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In October, only 20 percent of survey respondents expressed confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook, down two percentage points from September, and dipping to its lowest level since the chamber began measuring business confidence in 2011. By contrast, 45 percent said they lacked confidence.

“Many businesses are not seeing a light at the end of the tunnel just yet,” said Daniel Safayeni, the chamber's policy director.

“However, our survey also reveals 60 percent of businesses are confident that entrepreneurship in Ontario will rebound after the COVID-19 crisis. We’d like this number to be much higher, as Ontario will need small businesses to be an engine of post-pandemic job creation and economic recovery.”

Half of Ontario businesses surveyed remain cautiously optimistic about the future of their own organizations, with only 21 percent lacking confidence. That perspective from some business owners is attributed to increased demand for their products and services, growing client bases, and “buy local” campaigns.