Inflation has become the top concern for many businesses. The Chamber is hearing from many members struggling to balance higher costs by adjusting prices and raising wages to keep staff.
On top of this, the increased emphasis on tipping that took hold during the pandemic has created new challenges for employers, employees and customers.
The issues and a few solutions are the subject of a new series that recently ran in the Times Colonist. The articles shine a light on how tipping was affected by social changes over the past few years, as well as consumers reliance on debit cards and tax implications for people whose income relies on tips.
It's well worth the read as we head into the holiday shopping season!
Changing times create disruption but also present tremendous opportunities for forward-thinking organizations. The tide of high inflation has highlighted the need to create more resilient local production and supply networks.
Groceries are a good example of the need for investment in suppliers located closer to home. The provincial government's Buy BC program and the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance's Island Good shows the value of supporting innovation led by business.
On Monday, BuyBC hosted an event in Victoria called Every Chef Needs a Farmer, Every Farmer Needs a Chef. Among the exhibitors was Finest at Sea Ocean Products.
"There is clear evidence of the value that bring local brings to a community, but it's not always top of mind when we're at the grocery story purchasing produce for our families," Chamber CEO Bruce Williams said. "The Buy BC and Island Good programs makes it easier to remember the value in buying local, both in terms of freshness and health as well as in ensuring local farmers feel they are supported so they can take the risks needed to build their business."
To paraphrase that old Isley Brothers hit, it's not quite time to "Shout," but inflation is trending "a little bit softer now."
The latest figures from Statistics Canada show the pace of inflation slowed in September, with the cost of goods rising 6.9% from a year earlier. Inflation has been declining for three months, after peaking at 8.1% in June.
The sharp rise in costs was initially attributed to fuel shortages caused by the war in Ukraine, a super-heated housing market and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. However, fuel costs have stopped rising as sharply and supply chains are getting close to their typical efficiencies.
"However, these gains were largely offset by the continued rise of prices for food and services. Unfortunately, there was no progress on 'core' inflation, which held steady at 5%," Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Stephen Tapp said. "Today’s lack of progress on inflation — together with Bank of Canada surveys released earlier this week that suggested inflation expectations remain elevated — should be concerning enough to the Bank of Canada for them to deliver the 50 basis-point interest rate hike that the market expects (Oct. 26)."