Ontario Business Confidence drops by 17 points to a five-year low


Today, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Mowat Centre, released the fifth and final iteration of Emerging Stronger. A detailed economic agenda for Ontario, Emerging Stronger 2016 identifies the immediate steps that government and the private sector must take to enhance Ontario’s economic competitiveness and spur job creation in the province.

Ontario businesses are increasingly unsure about the direction of the provincial economy, according to a new survey from the OCC and Leger. The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index, featured in Emerging Stronger 2016, shows that business confidence in the Ontario economy is at a five-year low.

The Index shows that only 30 percent of businesses are confident in Ontario’s economy, compared to 47 percent in 2012. It also shows that 62 percent of businesses are confident in their own organization’s outlook, down from a high of 74 percent in 2014.

“The last year has been particularly disconcerting for local business; several major local employers have struggled with the implications of shifts in oil and electricity prices and the Canadian dollar, and it’s having a ripple effect” noted Monica Dale, President of the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. “Compound that with concerns about the roll-out of the new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, cap and trade policies and the challenges can look daunting.”

Dale added that “more than ever before in recent memory, there is a need for business and ALL levels of government to come to the table and look for ways to spur investment and create opportunities. Ontario, and Sault Ste. Marie, is rich in talent and resources and it is essential that we make the most of our competitive advantages. The process however, is going to require that business, and government, at all levels, be working from the same playbook with the same end goals in mind.

Among the key findings of the Ontario Business Confidence Index:

  • 30 percent of businesses believe the Ontario economy is going in the right direction, compared to 42 percent in 2012.
  • 48 percent of businesses plan to expand in the next five years, down 14 points from 2013.
  • The automotive/manufacturing sector is among the least confident in the province. Just 53 percent of businesses in that sector are confident in their own organization’s economic outlook, compared to a 62 percent provincial average.

The detailed policy recommendations in Emerging Stronger 2016 are focused on increasing economic stability, supporting investment and fostering business growth across the province. In order to achieve this, some of the key areas that need to be addressed are: fostering a culture of innovation and smart risk-taking in order to become a productivity leader, building a 21st century workforce, restoring fiscal balance by improving the way government works, taking advantage of new opportunities in the global economy, and strategically investing in our competitive advantages.

“Ontario businesses are looking for stability and economic certainty,” said Allan O’Dette, President and CEO of the OCC. “Emerging Stronger offers a detailed roadmap for how government can work with the business sector to achieve their shared goals. Uncertainty throughout the global economy and, specifically in the resources industry, is further compounding concerns in the private sector, and it is important that public policy address the concerns of the business community.”

About the Ontario Business Confidence Index:

The annual Ontario Business Confidence Index is the most comprehensive survey of business opinion in the province (1,310 respondents, survey conducted in November 2015). The margin of error for the survey is 2.71%, 19 times out of 20. The OCC began collecting this data in 2012.

Read Emerging Stronger 2016: http://www.occ.ca/issue/emergingstronger/

Learn more about the Ontario Chamber of Commerce

Learn more about the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce