Business advocacy group urging provincial governments refrain from implementing more lockdowns


Published August 12, 2021 at 2:30 pm


With many suggesting Canada has entered a fourth wave of COVID-19, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) is urging Provinces to refrain from implementing any further lockdowns.

Over the last 17 months, many businesses, especially gyms and restaurants, were forced to close in an effort to mitigate the spread of the virus. In Toronto and Peel Region, the latest lockdown started in the fall of 2020 and lasted for eight months.

During that time period, many business owners were unable to stay afloat and were forced to permanently close—some of the most beloved restaurants in Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto had to close their doors permanently during this time.

As a result, CFIB is urging provincial governments to refrain from implementing another lockdown, as cases have once again begun to rise.

“Provinces have done a good job of putting reopening plans in place, but very few have stated their intention to stay open and released detailed plans on how they will do that,” Laura Jones, executive vice-president of CFIB, said in a news release.

Despite the fact cases have begun to rise again, Ontario’s vaccination rates are also climbing—although, they have slowed in recent weeks.

As of Thursday (August 12), 72 per cent of all Ontarians have received at least one dose of a vaccine, including 83 per cent of adults, and 74 per cent of adults have been fully immunized.

“Ontario has been by far the most lockdown-happy province, and as a result businesses like indoor fitness and gyms, indoor dining restaurants, and event venues have lost more than a year to lockdowns since the pandemic started,” Ryan Mallough, senior director of Provincial Affairs for Ontario with CFIB, said in the same release. “We can’t go back to that in the fall—small businesses need to know that they will be allowed to remain open going forward.”

According to the latest data from CFIB, 87 per cent of business owners said they want their provincial government to commit to a “Stay Open” strategy that will protect the health care system without forcing businesses to once again close.

In order to facilitate this, CFBI is proposing a plan that would involve the government shifting their focus on hospitalization rates, rather than just case counts (something the Ontario government has announced it will be doing moving forward), as well as more testing, and proof of vaccination for travel and large events.

“The last 16 months have been incredibly hard on small business owners, not only financially, but emotionally as well. They can’t take more lockdowns. Provincial governments have the opportunity to reassure businesses that lockdowns are an extraordinary measure that will only be used now as a last resort by announcing a clear policy that keeping things open is a priority,” Jones said. 

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