More than 2.4 million jobs in Canada at risk of being lost due to pandemic


Published January 21, 2021 at 11:29 pm


Many Canadian entrepreneurs are approaching their breaking point when it comes to their business.

A recent survey from the Canadian Independent Federation of Businesses (CFIB) found, in light of the pandemic, one in six—181,000—Canadian small business owners are seriously contemplating closing up shop forever.

This puts more than 2.4 million jobs—roughly 20 per cent of the entire private sector—at risk, according to CFIB.

With the inclusion of the 58,000 businesses that were forced to permanently close in 2020, the pandemic could result in one in five Canadian businesses closing for good.

“Although there is still time for business owners to reverse course if conditions improve, it is alarming to see an increasing number considering permanent closure, compared to our first estimate last summer,” Simon Gaudreault, senior director of National Research for CFIB, said in a news release.

“We are not headed in the right direction and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision. The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose and the harder it will be for the economy to recover,” he continued.

Additionally, according to CFIB, less than half of businesses—47 per cent—are operating at full capacity, which is down from 62 per cent towards the end of November.

Further, only 36 per cent are fully staffed, and only 22 per cent are making sales at normal levels, down from 41 per cent and 29 per cent respectively from the end of November.

In Ontario, things are even bleaker—Canada’s most populated province has the fewest number of businesses fully operational at just 37 per cent.

“2021 isn’t off to a great start for small business. After the tough financial and emotional slog to get through a historically difficult year, the beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” Laura Jones, executive vice-president of CFIB, said in the same release.

“It goes without saying that supporting local is more important than ever. Governments can also help small businesses replace subsidies with sales by introducing safe pathways for them to reopen to limited customers. There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams. Let’s make 2021 the year we help small businesses survive and then get back to thriving,” she continued.

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