Majority of businesses faced challenges through pandemic; looking to next federal government for support
Calgary, Edmonton, September 15, 2021 – According to a recent survey, 96% of businesses experienced pandemic-related challenges. Conducted by Leger, the survey of Calgary and Edmonton member business leaders and citizens also indicates economic recovery and fiscal accountability are top-of-mind leading up to the federal election.
“Businesses and the people they rely on will fuel our economic recovery.” says Jeffrey Sundquist, President & CEO of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce. “Knowing a successful fight against COVID-19 is critical for our business community to get back on track, we developed our platform to share specific next steps on what the next Canadian parliament can do to support Alberta’s local economies and move together toward economic recovery.”
The survey details how pandemic-related challenges are playing out for businesses, illustrating a varied list of issues among the top five concerns:
39% of businesses indicate challenges with recruiting and attracting labour
39% have been challenged by a decrease in customers or sales
38% struggled with increasing costs of materials and human capital
38% have been adversely impacted by border closures that restrict the flow of goods, labour and business and leisure travel
30% indicate a slowdown in international supply chains is causing issues for their business
“COVID-19 has touched every aspect of our business community’s ability to survive and thrive. While businesses have shown resilience and determination, they need support that considers these challenges and furthers their desire to get back on track,” says Deborah Yedlin, President & CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce. “Our next federal government must come to the table with investment that supports rehiring, measures that re-establish consumer confidence, and policy solutions to address trade barriers and border closures contributing to rising costs and supply chain issues.”
Last month, the Calgary and Edmonton Chambers released a joint federal election platform “From Challenge to Change” which identifies five key focus areas. Leger’s survey results reflect similar priorities among both responding business leaders and citizens.
Concentrate on economic recovery and diversification The most important issue influencing how voters will decide in the federal election is economic recovery from COVID-19 (42% for citizens and 48% for business leaders).
Develop talent, skills and jobs Business leaders identify labour issues (recruitment and retention of employees) at 39% as a top challenge with 56% experiencing hiring difficulties since the onset of the pandemic.
Address impacts and opportunities of climate change 42% of citizens and 44% of business leaders want to see more support for low carbon innovation while nearly half of citizens and business leaders (46% and 48% respectively) want more focus on providing local clean technologies to address climate change.
Create a sustainable and competitive finance and taxation system Business leaders identify fiscal responsibility (35%) as the second most important issue that will influence their vote in the federal election while tax (25%) is among the top issues for citizens.
Expand trade and market access and improve supply chains 83% of business leaders want to see an increase in support for small and medium businesses in exploring new trade opportunities.
“All of the major parties are talking about the best way forward to recover from the pandemic, and this research shows businesses and consumers in Alberta are closely aligned in their priorities and expectations from the next federal government,” says Ian Large, Executive Vice President Western Canada & Partner, Leger. “While COVID has created a new set of challenges, many of the old priorities, like addressing climate change, also remain in the voters’ mind.”
The Calgary Chamber is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan business organization. For 130 years, the Chamber has worked to build a business community that nourishes, powers, and inspires the world.
About the Edmonton Chamber
The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce supports and enhances the Edmonton Metropolitan Region business community by advocating for conditions that ensure competitiveness, delivering exceptional educational experiences, and connecting people and businesses—all in a socially responsible manner. It is what we do, and we have been doing it for over 130 years.