With the likelihood of an economic recession this year, business leaders in Québec are preparing for potential headwinds, with over half (55 per cent) having recently increased their borrowing capacity amid concerns of higher costs and lower revenues, finds a new Focus Québec report by KPMG in Canada.

For the second consecutive year, KPMG surveyed senior executives from all industries and regions in Québec to participate in a comprehensive study to assess the key issues affecting businesses.

"The study's findings clearly highlight the concerns of business leaders regarding an economic slowdown," says Benoit Lacoste Bienvenue, Managing Partner in Quebec at KPMG in Canada. "Therefore, with the aim of promoting business prosperity, we rely on the data and key highlights from the study to develop effective solutions that address current challenges, such as digital transformation, data protection, and ESG issues."

Highlights of the survey:

  • Nearly 80 per cent (79 per cent) of business leaders surveyed anticipate an economic slowdown this year
  • 72 per cent say they tend to improve their company's agility given the expected turbulence and economic uncertainty
  • 71 per cent anticipate an increase in their operating costs in the next 12 months
  • 55 per cent have recently revised their borrowing capacity
  • 50 per cent are concerned about the current economic and geopolitical situation

Lagging on ESG goals

The Focus Québec report also reveals that there is still a lag in the adoption of sustainable practices among small- and medium-sized enterprises in the province, as 56 per cent of respondents confirm that they have not yet implemented sustainability goals or policies within their organizations. Nevertheless, the study does highlight progress in this regard, with an 11 per cent increase from last year’s survey.

"The report shows that there is still work to be done in terms of ESG, as more than half of them have not yet established sustainability goals," says Mr. Lacoste Bienvenue. "Small- and medium-sized enterprises are slow to implement ESG practices, particularly due to worsening economic conditions. We believe that companies demonstrating leadership in this regard will quickly stand out, particularly in terms of employer branding, investor relations, and to differentiate themselves with major clients."

About the KPMG in Quebec poll

The Focus Quebec survey was conducted in Fall 2022 and targeted our business and strategic partner’s networks. In all, 232 respondents from across Quebec completed the survey. Of these respondents, 90% hold executive positions, including 66 presidents.

The data collected throughout the province comes from businesses and organizations of all sizes and from a wide range of sectors. Businesses with under 100 employees comprise over half of the sample. The sample offers a more interesting view of large corporations (500 employees or more), accounting for 19% of the sample, or 45 corporations.

About KPMG in Canada

KPMG LLP, a limited liability partnership, is a full-service Audit, Tax and Advisory firm owned and operated by Canadians. For over 150 years, our professionals have provided consulting, accounting, auditing, and tax services to Canadians, inspiring confidence, empowering change, and driving innovation. Guided by our core values of Integrity, Excellence, Courage, Together, For Better, KPMG employs more than 10,000 people in over 40 locations across Canada, serving private- and public-sector clients. KPMG is consistently ranked one of Canada's top employers and one of the best places to work in the country.

The firm is established under the laws of Ontario and is a member of KPMG's global organization of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International, a private English company limited by guarantee. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. For more information, see kpmg.com/ca.

For media inquiries
Geneviève Lafaille
Executive Communications Director
KPMG Quebec