CFIB says compensation needed for businesses affected by road work

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by Morinville News Staff

The Canadian Federation of Canadian Business (CFIB) is calling on municipalities across Canada to compensate businesses experiencing losses during road work.

The position is based on a new report stemming from a 2017 survey of approximately 5500 of the CFIB’s membership.

The business advocacy organization said Wednesday that lower sales, higher costs, added stress and even closures were just “a few of the devastating consequences road construction wreaks on thousands of small businesses every year.”

CFIB’s report – Paving a Smooth Road: Helping small businesses survive infrastructure work – indicates 65,000 Canadian entrepreneurs were affected by road construction projects over the past five years, often having to borrow, relocate or close down altogether.

The organization wants municipalities to address the issue by starting to compensate businesses negatively impacted by infrastructure projects.

“Governments have announced hundreds of billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure projects over the next few years. However, none of this funding has been earmarked to compensate the businesses that will be significantly affected by these projects,” said CFIB Director of Economic Affairs Simon Gaudreault. “Considering the strong negative impact on some businesses, it would be irresponsible if governments did nothing to help them mitigate the negative consequences or better manage the projects. Countless local jobs, thousands of neighbourhood businesses and the very heart of some commercial streets are at risk if these issues aren’t addressed.”

The CFIB report suggests46 per cent of respondents that were affected by road construction said their sales had declined. Twenty-three per cent said they experienced a significant level of stress, and more than one in five had to draw on personal or business savings.

“These results show that too often local businesses struggle during public infrastructure projects, shouldering unfair economic costs that are being offloaded on them,” Gaudreault said.

The report is recommending Canadian municipalities adopt a construction mitigation policies that provide a compensation program, a “no surprise” rule, comprehensive planning approaches, improved contracting process, and dedicated business liaison officers.

“Construction is a serious problem for thousands of local businesses who need to see more action around this file in the next few months. The upcoming Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ annual conference would be a good opportunity to show leadership on this issue,” Gaudreault said.

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