Canadian firms plan to recruit more employees over the coming year even though they expect that sales growth will not improve, the Bank of Canada's winter business survey showed on Monday.

The global economic outlook and concerns about demand continue to weigh on firms' expectations for business activity, the report said, but it said the balance of opinion on employment rose.

The number of firms planning to increase staffing levels rose 2 percentage points to 54 percent, while those planning a smaller workforce fell 5 points to 9 percent.

The balance of opinion on past sales growth remains strongly positive, the central bank said, but turned slightly negative for future sales growth. Forty-one percent see sales growth falling, 37 percent see it rising and 22 percent see steady growth.

The survey reported little change in opinion on investment intentions and those reporting production capacity pressures.