Slight rise in Alberta business, but struggle remains

by Stephen Dafoe

The latest Small Business Dashboard data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) indicates an increase in the percentage of Alberta small businesses now fully open. This months numbers indicate 65 per cent of business are full pen, compared to 60 per cent last month.

Staffing saw a slight up tick from 39 per cent fully staffed to 40 per cent fully staffed, and those seeing normal sales rose from 20 per cent to 23 per cent.

“February tends to be a low-sales month, but this February is a real heartbreaker,” said CFIB Executive Vice President Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president. “Small businesses are now 11 months into seeing their revenues plummet. Many have been forced to shut down even as Amazon and big box sales soar.”

But while there is some faint hope in the change in numbers, restaurants, hotels and caterers, as well as the arts and rec and fitness sectors are particularly hard hit.

CFIB found 97 per cent of the hospitality industry and 87 per cent of the arts and recreation industry is in need of provincial support, compared tot he Aberta average of 65 per cent.

“Alberta small business in the hospitality and arts and recreation industries are reporting dismal sales, and their risk of closure is more than double the provincial average,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director. “Furthermore, nearly two thirds (65%) of all Alberta small businesses agree they need additional provincial supports. With back to normal operations still months away the Alberta government needs to provide additional supports in the form of another top-up through the SME Relaunch Grant to help small businesses survive.”

Nationally, Alberta ranks fifth in the percentage of businesses fully open and eighth in the percentage fully staffed. Alberta ranks ninth in terms of businesses seeing normal sales numbers.

% fully open 66 65 74 59 38 51 64 78 78 71
% fully staffed 43 40 42 47 34 39 42 64 60 46
% with normal sales 34 23 30 31 20 28 33 39 38 43


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