Wanted: Employer input on coping with COVID-19

Chamber of Commerce, StatCan looking both at present conditions and recovery

Wanted: Employer input on coping with COVID-19

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Statistics Canada are looking for employer input for a new survey looking at business conditions during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The two organizations have partnered up to provide new data about what employers are going through during the pandemic, and how they are planning for the eventual recovery.

“This is going to be the largest crowdsourced surveys of the Canadian business condition in history,” says Jackie King, COO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa. “During a crisis like COVID-19, relevant and timely data is mission-critical, and that’s why we’ve partnered with Statistics Canada to leverage our network of 200,000 businesses.”

The Canadian Survey of Business Conditions (CSBC) will examine issues such as changes that businesses have made to adapt to the ongoing situation, challenges they continue to face and challenges they expect to face as the recovery begins.

“It’s really getting a sense of where businesses are now that we’re a few weeks into dealing with it and where they see things going, how they’re adapting, so that we can learn from that,” she says.

The survey will collect data this week on how businesses are currently coping with COVID-19, and may be repeated in the coming weeks, depending on how the situation progresses.

One of the main challenges is “creating as much awareness about the survey and our data collection initiatives because the information and the insights that we glean from all of that is only going to be meaningful if we get a critical mass of participants,” says King, who also cites “survey fatigue” as another consideration for the survey’s success.

“It really is making sure that we’re convincing [employers] that this is an important initiative to have their say because we’re using this to help inform government decisions, programs, initiatives, private sector supports, that will ultimately help them navigate through the crisis and beyond,” she says.

The Canadian Chamber will work with more than 100 of Canada’s business and industry associations, including the Business Council of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, in the coming weeks, says King.

“While it’s a health crisis, it also has the potential of resulting in a significant economic crisis because the sooner we can get this curve flattened and business back up and running, our economy will be healthier.”

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