Ottawa Business Growth Survey: Uncertainty and opportunity lie ahead for Ottawa’s business community

Now is the moment to reimagine the city’s future, leaders argue
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Editor's Note

The Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey is a comprehensive annual research project that explores what’s ahead for the city’s economy based on surveys with hundreds of business leaders. Read their insights and understand the factors shaping business confidence in Ottawa, in this exclusive report.

A guarded optimism permeates this year’s results from The Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey, as local businesses leave the darkest days of the pandemic behind and grapple with skyrocketing inflation, tight labour markets and uncertainty around the future of the downtown core and the outcome of a fall municipal election.

Jim McConnery, managing partner at Welch LLP, says that if anything is for certain, it’s that the pre-pandemic status quo is no longer an acceptable operating model. 

“The business community and organizations in general probably have the confidence that we’ve adapted and we’re operating relatively effectively,” he comments. “Maybe it’s the case that … adaptability and resilience have become almost a core feature of operating effectively in the current business environment.”

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The business confidence index is a composite calculation based on the responses to several of the questions contained in the Welch LLP Ottawa Business Growth Survey. The scale ranges from zero to 200, with a score of 100 representing a neutral position. A score higher than 100 is positive, while a score lower than 100 is negative.

Survey results show that just over half of respondents saw revenues and net income rise in the past year, while 57 per cent expect the market for their business to improve over the coming year, the most optimistic result since the survey started in 2015. The overall business confidence index rose from the doldrums of 2020 to surpass what it was in 2019, driven by gains in consulting and the hard-hit hospitality and retail sectors.

At the same time, 23 per cent of respondents who completed the survey say their confidence in the local economy has increased. While this is the strongest result since 2017, it perhaps reflects challenges around cost containment and hiring and retaining staff.

Visit https://www.ottawabusinesssurveyreport.ca to download your copy.