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The consensus economic outlook among accounting professionals is a pessimistic one, with more than two-thirds of executive-level chartered professional accountants believing a recession is on tap for Canada this year.

In a first-quarter survey from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada, 67% of respondents said the most likely scenario for Canada in 2023 was a “mild” recession, followed by 22% who expected neither growth nor recession this year.

Only 18% of respondents had an optimistic outlook for the Canadian economy, compared to 40% in the same quarter last year.

Respondents were also less likely to be optimistic about their businesses (45%) compared to one year ago (64%).

While 61% expected increased revenue over the next year, that was down from 74% the year prior. About half (51%) said profits would increase over the next year, compared to 63% in 2022.

“The Canadian economy has been surprisingly resilient in early 2023, but there are many signs that it will weaken before it gets better,” said David-Alexandre Brassard, CPA Canada’s chief economist, in a release.

Just over two-thirds of business leaders said they’re still affected by inflation, and most feel that inflation will impact their business for at least six months.

“CPA business leaders expect inflation to remain high with price pressures now coming from the labour side,” Brassard said. “Companies are continuing to adjust wages for higher costs of living, which is sustaining inflation. This means that the high interest rate environment may remain for longer than anticipated.”

The quarterly survey was conducted by NielsonIQ from March 15 to April 5 among 5,638 professional accountants in leadership positions.