Slow return to work leaves businesses struggling, CFIB says

by Morinville Online Staff

Despite the lifting of COVID restrictions, approximately a quarter (24%) of small business owners’ revenues are affected by a slow return to the office by downtown workers.

The impact, outlined in a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey, is stronger in the hospitality sector (46%), personal services (31%), enterprises and administrative management (29%), and retail (28%).

“The pandemic caused many businesses and governments to transition to a hybrid work model, leaving many downtown cores empty. Many local businesses rely on workers returning to in-person work. At a time when only 40% of businesses are making normal revenues and 65% are dealing with pandemic-related debt, consumer spending is more important now than ever,” said CFIB Senior Vice President of National Affairs Corinne Pohlmann.

The CFIB survey shows that three in five (60%) small business owners agreed government and big business should increase their efforts to get their workers back to downtown cores. That figure jumps to more than four in five businesses (84%) for those whose revenues have been impacted by a lack of workers in downtown cores.

Declining customers and the end of major federal COVID support programs over the past weekend have left many businesses struggling to make it through.

“Programs like the Canada Recovery Hiring Program are retroactive, meaning applications will be accepted up to 180 days after the end of a claim period. However, business expenses beyond May 7 will not be covered,” Pohlmann said. “The lack of financial relief and consumer demand may lead to more businesses struggling to make ends meet and some may end up winding down their operations.”

CFIB is petitioning the government to help small businesses reduce their COVID debt burdens by increasing the forgivable portion of their CEBA loan to at least 50% and extending the repayment deadline for an additional year.



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