Slow sales means a long recovery for small business, CFIB says

by Stephen Dafoe

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is saying it will take small businesses 17 months on average to return to normal sales if the current pace continues. That number is eight years for the hospitality sector. Both numbers come from CFIB’s look at revenue pacing between the relaunch in June and the organization’s September survey results, which showed only 30 per cent of Canadian businesses’ sales were at normal levels. 

“This underscores the need to kick the recovery into a higher gear. The current situation just isn’t sustainable for too many businesses,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB in a media release Tuesday. “One simple thing every politician in the country can do right now is talk about the importance of supporting small business. Many have participated in the #SmallBusinessEveryDay movement already. Our survey results show small businesses want and need this kind of leadership.”

CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard shows 65 per cent of Alberta’s businesses are fully open, and 33 per cent are fully staffed. However, only 18 per cent are making normal sales. That latter number is a five-point drop from the situation two weeks ago.

The five-point drop has Alberta Provincial Affairs Director Annie Dormuth saying the province’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard is going in the wrong direction.

“Decreases seen across the number of businesses fully open, fully staffed and making normal sales stresses the importance of shopping local,” she said. “This is also a wakeup call that urgent action is needed from the Alberta government to extend commercial eviction protection and expand the province’s SME Relaunch Grant.”

CFIB continues to encourage Canadians to support independent businesses. There are currently 61 shop local initiatives from across the country on their   website.

Below is CFIB’s estimate for economic recovery in its members’ various sectors:

Time to reach 100% of businesses

at normal revenues

(at current constant pace)

Hospitality (E.g. restaurants, hotels)

8 years 3 months

Enterprise & Administration Management (E.g. staffing agencies, building management)

5 years 4 months

Professional Services (E.g. law firms, accounting)

2 years 7 months

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate & Leasing

2 years 2 months

Natural Resources

2 years


1 year 10 months

Personal, Miscellaneous Services (E.g. dry cleaners, mechanics)

1 year 6 months


1 year 5 months

Average for all sectors

1 year 5 months


1 year 2 months

Arts, Recreation & Information (E.g. golf courses, gyms)

1 year 1 month


10 months


10 months

Social Services (E.g. dentists, chiropractors)

9 months


9 months



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