B.C.’s CPAs cite labour shortage and housing affordability as top challenges to economic growth

CBJ Newsmakers

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Nov. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — According to the latest CPABC Business Outlook Survey conducted by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC), the majority of CPAs in B.C. are positive about the province’s current economic performance relative to the rest of Canada.

“Almost two-thirds of our members surveyed perceive B.C.’s economy to be good or excellent, compared to only half who have a favourable impression of the rest of Canada’s economic performance,” said Lori Mathison, FCPA, FCGA, LLB, president and CEO of CPABC. “Looking at the next two years, our members views are in line with forecasts for economic growth, with B.C. expecting its real gross domestic product (GDP) to be moderated and grow at the same pace as that of Canada’s.

Nearly one-quarter of CPA respondents believe that B.C.’s economy will grow faster than the Canadian average and one-third feel that our economy will grow at approximately the same pace as the rest of Canada over the next two years. In comparison, TD Economics is forecasting B.C.’s GDP growth to be 2.2 and 2.0 per cent for 2019 and 2020 respectively, compared to Canada’s 2.2 and 1.7 per cent.

Increasing capacity constraints in the form of labour shortages is one of the main reasons for moderated economic growth. According to CPABC’s BC Check-Up, 87,300 jobs were added to the labour market within the last year. With a 5.0 per cent unemployment rate, the province is near employment capacity while labour demand continues to grow. As such, it was not surprising that CPAs in B.C. identified the ability to attract and retain skilled talent as the top challenge to business success. Meanwhile, housing affordability was determined to be our province’s top economic issue. Mathison feels that that the two issues are not mutually exclusive.

“Almost three-quarters of CPAs surveyed feel their business has challenges finding employees with the right skills. High housing costs in our province have certainly hindered some companies in hiring and retaining talent. As labour demand outstrips supply across the country, our province’s housing affordability issue could be a further deterrent for young, mobile workers to find work in B.C.,” said Mathison.

About the CPABC Business Outlook Survey
CPABC commissioned NRG Research Group to conduct a web-based survey of CPA members regarding their impressions of the current and future of the economy in areas that they work, current challenges for business success, and the business climate in British Columbia. A total of 2,121 online surveys were completed between July 23 and August 14, 2018, which represents an overall response rate of 11 per cent.

About CPA British Columbia
The Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) is the training, governing, and regulatory body for almost 35,000 CPA members and 5,000 CPA students. CPABC carries out its primary mission to protect the public by enforcing the highest professional and ethical standards and contributing to the advancement of public policy. CPAs are recognized internationally for bringing superior financial expertise, strategic thinking, business insight, and leadership to organizations.

CONTACT: For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:
Vivian Tse, Public Affairs Manager