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Inflation, supply chain issues worry business leaders: CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q1 2022)

Inflation and supply chain concerns are the top two challenges to the growth of the Canadian economy cited by business leaders, according to a new survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).

Toronto, May 4, 2022 – Inflation and supply chain concerns are the top two challenges to the growth of the Canadian economy cited by business leaders, according to a new survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada).


According to the latest CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q1 2022), 40 per cent of respondents surveyed in the first quarter were optimistic about Canada’s economic prospects over the next 12 months, compared to 43 per cent in Q4 2021. However, pessimism jumped sharply from 19 per cent last quarter to 29 per cent in Q1.


Inflation (22 per cent) and supply chain issues (20 per cent) were seen as the top challenges to the growth of the Canadian economy in the coming 12 months, with lack of skilled workers (11 per cent) and employee recruitment, retention and development (10 per cent) the next two on the list.


Worries about the effect of COVID-19 dropped sharply, with the number of respondents who are either extremely or very concerned about the economic impacts of the pandemic falling to ten per cent in Q1 2022, well down from 37 per cent in the final quarter of 2021.


“Clearly, thanks to our high vaccination rate and the continuing efforts of businesses, governments and individual Canadians, most respondents believed the economic impact of the pandemic will ease over the coming months, although it’s possible that could still change.” says David-Alexandre Brassard, CPA Canada’s chief economist. “Inflation and lingering supply chain issues remain prominent challenges exacerbated by the situation in the Ukraine, so we will need further hard work and ingenuity to keep our economy on a growth path.”


Respondents report that their organizations are recruiting and retaining employees by using tactics like increasing compensation (68 per cent), hybrid working arrangements (50 per cent) and improving work-life balance options (50 per cent as well). They think the federal government could help increase the number of skilled employees in Canada by supporting worker training (53 per cent) and increasing immigration levels for people in job categories that are in demand (51 per cent).


Climate Change


Respondents are also looking for government action to reduce the impacts of climate change.  More than half (57 per cent)  of the business leaders surveyed agreed that the federal government should focus on mitigating climate change, versus 24 per cent who disagreed and 19 per cent who took no position.


“Many business leaders recognize there is growing interest from consumers, investors and other stakeholders in connection with environmental, social and governance matters,”  noted Pamela Steer, president and CEO, CPA Canada. “Climate change can impact strategy and have significant financial and operational impacts, especially long-term, so there is value associated with finding sustainable solutions to reduce emissions and to accelerate the transition to a strong, low-carbon economy.”


Company-specific findings


Business leaders’ optimism about their own businesses has softened since the Q4 2021 Business Monitor, dropping from 69 to 64 per cent. Only 10 per cent report feeling pessimistic but 27 per cent are on the fence.


Lowered expectations about the business in general are reflected in predictions for their organization’s revenue growth over the next 12 months as 74 per cent of respondents expect revenue growth over the next year, down from 78 per cent last quarter. That slight downward trend, however, has not been reflected in expectations around hiring as 56 per cent expect to increase the number of employees over the next year, basically the same as last quarter’s 57 per cent forecast. Similarly, profit expectations are fairly consistent compared with last quarter: 63 per cent expect increased profits over the next year, last quarter the proportion was 64 per cent.




The CPA Canada Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey commissioned by CPA Canada and conducted by NielsenIQ. The report draws upon business insights of professional accountants in leadership positions in privately and publicly held companies.


For the Q1 2022 study, emailed surveys were completed by 459 of 5,528 people identified by CPA Canada as holding senior positions in industry (CFOs, CEOs, COOs and other leadership roles). Respondents work for a mix of small, medium and large companies, as determined by employee size. The response rate was 12.6 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study ±4 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. The survey was conducted from March 21 to April 6, 2022. Further information can be found in the survey’s background document, which is available online at