Economic optimism climbing despite recession expected this year: CPA Canada Business Monitor (Q2 2023)

Toronto, July 4, 2023 – Optimism is climbing among top business leaders surveyed by CPA Canada, even as a majority of respondents continue to expect a recession this year, suggesting economic resiliency amid lingering inflationary wage and interest rate pressures.

More than a quarter (28 per cent) of respondents to the recent Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada Business Monitor Q2 survey said they are optimistic about the economy over the next 12 months, compared to only 18 per cent in the first quarter of 2023.

Still, roughly two-thirds (68 per cent) of survey respondents said they anticipate a 2023 recession.

“Business leaders expect a recession as higher interest rates make their way through the economy, but the rebound in optimism suggests that senior-level CPAs are noticing the resiliency of the Canadian economy,” says David-Alexandre Brassard, CPA Canada’s chief economist. “The economic slowdown is still on the horizon, but it should come later than previously expected and could very well be milder.”

Results also show that business optimism is starting to rebound, with 56 per cent of respondents optimistic about the prospects for their businesses in the next year, compared to 45 per cent last quarter. When looking at individual organizational metrics:

  • 57 per cent believe their companies will have increased revenue over the next year, 
  • 49 per cent say profits will increase over the next year, and
  • 42 per cent anticipate a climb in employee numbers.

Interestingly, 53 per cent of respondents think they have fewer employees than they need, 31 per cent think they have exactly the number of employees they need, and the remaining 16 per cent think they have too many.

“Most businesses are dealing with labour constraints driven by overall labour market tightness,” says Brassard. "This may relate to wage pressures for the 44 per cent of respondents who expect wages to increase by five per cent or more in the next year.” 

Two-thirds of respondents (67 per cent) believe that inflation is hurting their company, with the majority of those believing it will continue to impact their organization for at least six months.

"Inflation is trending down overall, but it remains elevated for services. With vacation season here, a tight labour market and a stronger than anticipated economy, the Bank of Canada could implement an additional rate hike to limit spending on services, “adds Brassard. “The question is whether an additional rate hike would truly reduce the restaurant, entertainment, hotels and travel expenses of Canadians.”


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

For the Q2 2023 study, emailed surveys were completed by 232 of 4,124 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 8.4 per cent, with a margin of error associated with this type of study ±6.3 per cent, with a confidence level of 95 per cent. The response rate calculation is calculated as follows: Response Rate = Survey Completes / (Completed Surveys + Incomplete Surveys + Estimated Other Eligible Members in Sample). The survey was conducted from May 23 to June 11, 2023. Further information can be found in the survey’s background document, which is available online at