Supply chains continue to fluster Canadian execs

According to a study by the CPA, pessimism about Canada's near-term economic prospects remains unchanged.

Supply chains and a resurgent pandemic are keeping senior executives up at night, according to a new survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada), though there a number of other factors making them pessimistic about Canada’s economic prospects.

The survey of 525 c-suite executives reveals that supply chain is seen as the number one challenge to the Canadian economy, cited by 20% of respondents. But that was followed closely by COVID-19 at 18%, with inflation tied with employee recruitment, retention and development at 15%. A lack of skilled workers was cited by 8%.

Meanwhile, the survey reveals only 43% of execs were optimistic about Canada’s economic prospects over the next 12 months, down significantly from 52% the previous quarter.

According to the report, the number of survey participants expressing outright pessimism remains basically unchanged (19% in Q4 versus 20% in Q3), but the number who remained “cautiously neutral” has grown 10% to 38%.

To address recruitment and retention, 67% of senior level execs reported that their respective companies are increasing compensation and half are supporting hybrid work arrangements.

The survey reveals 49% of business executives want the federal government to increase immigration levels for people in job categories that are in demand, with 47% saying it needs to offer better support training for workers.

However, business leaders’ worry about the state of the government’s fiscal prospects, remains high: 59% of the respondents either extremely or very concerned, down marginally from 63% in Q3.

Lastly, optimism about their own businesses and expectations for growth, remain relatively stable compared with Q3.