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An uncertain outlook about Canada’s economy prevails among business leaders, according to a new survey conducted for Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada). 

The latest CPA Canada Business Monitor surveyed professional accountants in leadership positions across Canada, and found that respondents were torn about their expectations of the economy over the next 12 months, with 28% saying they were optimistic and 28% saying they were pessimistic.

Optimism decreased from 31% in the previous quarter, while pessimism increased from 24%. The largest portion of respondents (44%) took a neutral position. 

Business leaders’ lists of worries included general uncertainty surrounding the Canadian economy (15%), U.S. protectionism, the state of the U.S. economy and a lack of skilled workers (all tied at 11%), and a minority government (10%). 

Almost half (48%) of those surveyed said they were optimistic about their own businesses in the coming year, while 18% reported being pessimistic and 33% were neutral.

Looking at the next 12 months, two-thirds of business leaders predicted their businesses would see increased revenues, 59% expected increased profits and 45% anticipated adding employees. 

The CPA Canada Business Monitor is issued quarterly, based on a survey commissioned by CPA Canada and conducted by Nielsen. The Q3 2019 study was conducted from Oct. 31 to Nov. 17. Emailed surveys were completed by 386 respondents identified by CPA Canada as holding senior positions in industry.