CALGARY and TORONTO—Business owners in Alberta and Ontario are feeling upbeat about their respective provinces’ economies, according to a new BMO poll.
Where opinions differ between the two provinces is in regards to the state of the Canadian economy, where one third of entrepreneurs in Ontario expect the national climate to improve this year.
In Alberta it’s the oil and gas sector that is leading to the local optimism, with 11 per cent of those polled citing natural resources as a key aspect of the province’s competitive edge.
“The recurring theme in Alberta among business owners remains a real sense of optimism, both for the major cities of Calgary and Edmonton and the province as a whole,” Mike Darling, vice-president of commercial banking with BMO, said in a statement.
“This sentiment is largely driven by the oil and gas sector, which has seen expansion and growth across many areas of the industry.”
Another 15 per cent see taxes, which are low and stable and have helped support economic growth, as beneficial, according to BMO, while 19 per cent cite the strength of the local economy as the main advantage to doing business in Alberta.
To the east, 23 per cent of Ontario business owners cited access to a large market with a high population as the main advantage to doing business in Ontario.
“Business owners in Ontario can definitely take advantage of living in the most populous province,” BMO’s district vice-president of mid-western Ontario Janet Peddigrew said. “The results reinforce that our commercial clients in Ontario have the benefit of being in the same city or region as a number of their key customers.”
In the Prairies, 62 per cent of entrepreneurs expect the Saskatchewan economy to improve in 2013.
Business owners in that province also cited the strength of the local economy and favourable taxes as key factors to growth.