How businesses are reacting to the pandemic
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is in the midst of a series of three micro-surveys on Ontario’s economic health. The surveys are designed to be quick and easy for businesses to answer, but also designed to assess the health and confidence of Ontario’s business
community. This is an annual project led by the OCC and guided by the answers of businesses in communities across the province, such as Peterborough.
We understand that there is a lot going on and businesses and employees are being pulled in multiple directions. However, we do hope you can take a few minutes to fill out this survey and help us elevate the voice of business to our local MPPs and Queen’s Park.
The first survey (with the data from the Muskoka-Kawartha Economic Region to the right) focussed on business confidence. Do business owners believe their business can thrive in their community? For Muskoka-Kawarthas, 48% of businesses felt they did have the opportunity to thrive, while 39% did not.
Comparatively, the provincial numbers showed a more optimistic view with 62% of participating businesses in Ontario feeling there was opportunity to thrive in their community.
As expected, business growth suffered under the COVID-19 pandemic with businesses expressing a decline in growth over the past six months and an anticipated decline in the next six months. However, there are still some businesses that did grow and are anticipating growth in the next half year.
As Stuart Harrison, President & CEO of the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce wrote last week, “The pandemic has put large chunks of the economy at risk. What can you do about it? Commit to supporting the businesses that support you.” Inject confidence in your community by buying local and supporting the businesses in our city and county.
Not surprisingly, business tends to be more confident in their ability to weather the storm than with the provincial economy as a whole. This is often a reflection of policies put in place by government. Granted, in these times decisions have not been made with ease, but in the arena of government regulation certainty is critical. And while governments have moved at a pace that is extremely unfamiliar, they too have hopefully seen how businesses operate in two worlds and are constantly working to ensure balance.
One of the more positive points to come out of this first survey for Muskoka-Kawartha is on the
pandemic's impact on hiring. 50% of businesses indicated the pandemic had no impact on hiring or that they were planning to hire. About 25% of businesses said they had permanently dismissed staff while the remaining 25% issued temporary dismissals. These numbers were very much in line with the provincial numbers.
That said, the project lead, Daniel Safayeni, Director of Policy for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, says "businesses in accommodation and food services; transportation and warehousing; arts, entertainment and recreation; and retail have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.”
Many of these businesses are an important part of the Peterborough economy and have while some have been able to pivot and add e-commerce, others have limited abilities under COVID restrictions. We look forward to learning more about the supports mentioned in the federal Speech from the Throne.
The second OCC survey, which is now live and can be found on our website
under the COVID-19 Business Resource Portal, will take a deeper look at business confidence, pandemic recovery, mental health, and climate change.
Please take a moment to fill it out: https://bit.ly/2020OCCSurvey2Ptbo
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