Business Leaders Cautiously Optimistic

Most Canadian business executives are cautiously optimistic about the likelihood of the COVID outbreak being contained and safely returning to normal activities over the next 12 months, says a survey from The Business Monitor, released by Modus Research. This question was asked in October and December of 2020, and again in April 2021. Optimism over a return to normality has more than doubled since October, albeit still below a quarter of business leaders. Most are at least cautiously optimistic on a return to normality, while a sizable minority remain strongly pessimistic. In April 2021, 22 per cent of executives said it is very likely that the outbreak will be contained and people will return to normal activities in the next 12 months. Twenty per cent believe it is unlikely to happen and 56 per cent were undecided. In October 2020, only nine per cent of executives said the outbreak containment and a return to normality is likely to happen, compared to 36 per cent who said it is unlikely, with 55 per cent being undecided. Business leaders were also asked what they thought would be the general outlook for the Canadian economy over the next 12 months. Leaders who believe it will be safe to resume normal activities are notably more confident about the Canadian economy than those who are pessimistic about a return to normal. Fully one half of the optimistic group see the Canadian economy improving over the next year, while just over a quarter of the pessimistic group think likewise. Of those executives who believe a return to normality is likely to happen, 50 per cent believe the Canadian economy will improve over the next 12 months, 29 per cent believe it will worsen, and 18 per cent think it will stay the same. Out of those who believe a return to normality is unlikely to happen, 28 per cent think the Canadian economy will improve, 46 per cent believe it will worsen, and 23 per cent believe it will stay the same. Canadian executives who expect a return to normality are also substantially more confident about their business prospects, with more than half saying their economic outlook will improve over the next year. On the other hand, business leaders who believe a return to normality is unlikely are much less confident in their business outlook.