Small business optimism improved in November, and for the second month in a row, led by increased confidence in Ontario, Alberta, P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The latest Business Barometer from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) showed a gain of two points, up to 59.3 out of 100.

“After a summer of discontent, it looks like we’re seeing a turnaround in confidence,” said Ted Mallett, the CFIB’s chief economist, in a release. “While we’re still very far off from the confidence levels we saw earlier in the year, there are some positive signs heading into the final month of the calendar year. In particular, there are improvements in both wage and capital spending plans.”


In Quebec (65.4), businesses remain the most optimistic in the country, despite a slight drop in confidence. That province is followed by British Columbia (60.8) and Nova Scotia (59.9).

Increased confidence in Ontario (58.3), Alberta (56.2), Prince Edward Island (55.8) and Newfoundland and Labrador (49.0) offset the decreased sentiment in Manitoba (55.3), Saskatchewan (52.3) and New Brunswick (51.4).

Confidence increased in the natural resource and agriculture sectors, while professional services and retail saw declines. Across all sectors, businesses are most concerned about rising taxes, and energy and wage costs, Mallett said in the release.

Read the full Business Barometer here.

Survey methodology: The survey was based on 698 responses to a controlled-access web survey from a stratified random sample of CFIB members. On a scale between 0 and 100, an index above 50 means owners expecting their businesses’ performance to be stronger in the next year outnumber those expecting weaker performance. An index level of between 65 and 70 indicates an economy growing at its potential, the CFIB says.