It’s been 20 years since Canada’s original business gift opening program was introduced.
Today, the program is in its fifth year and still receiving positive feedback.
However, many businesses are finding it difficult to find qualified Canadians who want to share their gifts with their customers.
“It’s a challenge,” said Laura Jorgensen, president of the Canadian Business and Industry Association.
“There’s been so much change.
People are more demanding, they’re more competitive.”
She said many of the challenges come down to the fact that there’s a lot of new technology, which makes it harder to track and keep track of who gets what.
Jorgenson said many businesses that had to give away their gifts, even as recently as a few years ago, are now finding it impossible to keep track.
That’s partly because they’ve been unable to hire qualified people who can help them with the job.
“We’re finding that it’s very challenging to get qualified people,” she said.
You have the opportunity to be part of that innovation, but it’s so much harder to find people who are qualified to share your gift.” “
When you look at the business model that is in Canada, it’s one of the most innovative economies in the world.
You have the opportunity to be part of that innovation, but it’s so much harder to find people who are qualified to share your gift.”
The program has become a major issue for some in the industry.
“Businesses are very reluctant to share gifts because they don’t want to put their reputation at risk,” said Jorgensons colleague, Janine Wigley, vice-president of retail and marketing for CBA.
“You want to keep the program going.”
In fact, many small businesses have decided to stop sharing their gifts altogether.
“As a result, we’ve lost a lot more business,” said Wigly.
“For us, it would’ve been better if we didn’t have this program in the first place.
It’s very stressful to have to have that constant turnover.”
In some cases, people have had to cancel gifts because their employer is not able to find someone to help them fill the gap.
“The last thing we want is for our employees to be put in a position where they have to pay for something that they’ve just never had before,” said Janine, who also works in the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
She said the industry has also seen a sharp decline in business lending.
Wigleys experience is not unique.
According to Jorgesens research, there are a number of reasons why businesses are hesitant to share a gift.
“Many small businesses are looking for a way to continue to have access to their clients.
Many have had difficulty finding qualified Canadians,” said Kory Hebert, vice president of corporate development at the Canadian Bankers Association.
Some have found it impossible because they’re looking for people who have the ability to work in different markets, such as the hospitality industry.
For others, the issue comes down to cost.
“Most of us are just trying to make ends meet, and we can’t afford to give someone a gift they don�t want,” said Hebert.
Hebert said the BMO survey of 1,600 Canadian businesses found that about 90 per cent of the companies surveyed had started sharing their gift opening programs and 95 per cent said they were seeing a drop in business loan application rates.
“Small businesses are in a great position right now,” said hebert.
“They have the flexibility to share and we are looking at how to make sure that we’re delivering that.”