It’s no secret that small businesses in Canada have taken a major hit during the numerous lockdowns and reopenings over the past 10 months. The question is: will they ever recover?
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) announced on Thursday that 181,000 small businesses are “seriously contemplating” permanent closure. Shutting this many doors could result in over two million jobs lost as the virus continues to spread across the country.
These staggering numbers don’t include the thousands of businesses that became inactive in 2020. Add them together, and we’re looking at 12 to 26 per cent of Canadian businesses at risk of closing their doors for good.
As expected, the industries at the highest risk are those that run on human interaction: hotels, gyms, restaurants. But it’s not just those businesses that need help. All small businesses have been suffering this past year, and although there was hope 2021 would bring new possibilities, it looks like this is going to be a reality for the foreseeable future. Ontario entered a strict lockdown with stay-at-home measure last week, only prolonging the prospect of reopening for many business owners.
Coronavirus cases in Ontario were on a steady rise in the fall, but the seven-day average of daily cases has recently dropped. It’s not enough to talk about reopening just yet, but it is a small glimmer of hope that we’re once again moving in the right direction.
Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president says “It goes without saying that supporting local is more important than ever.” She also adds that it’s not all up to consumers to support these companies. “Governments can also help small businesses replace subsidies with sales by introducing safe pathways for them to reopen to limited customers,” she says.
The CFIB has a petition here to help save small businesses before it’s too late.