by Morinville Online Staff
Small business owners in Canada are working an average of 54 hours a week, the equivalent of an eight-day workweek for most salaried workers, according to a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). The report reveals that those who work more hours to make up for labour shortages clock in even more, about 59 hours a week, with 20 of those spent compensating for staffing challenges.
The report highlights that business owners could use the time to cover staffing shortages on other priorities, including growing their business or looking into government programs. CFIB says the impacts of longer working hours can also be felt outside of work, with many owners having little time for family and friends, affecting their mental health and well-being.
CFIB’s research shows that the number of small businesses impacted by labour shortages has increased from 55% in November 2021 to 59% in September 2022. Quebec (66%), Saskatchewan (62%), and Manitoba (62%) are the provinces most affected by staffing challenges. Alberta currently sits at 55%.
The report also reveals that labour shortages primarily affect the number of work hours, with 73% of businesses reporting that owners had to work more hours and 54% saying their employees had to work more hours to make up for being short-staffed. Moreover, nearly half of the affected businesses had to turn down sales and contracts (48%) or decrease their service offerings (47%).
The sectors most affected by the shortage are the hospitality (84%) and agriculture (82%) sectors.
“Instead of being captains who keep their ships on course, short-staffed business owners are having to paddle just to stay afloat,” added François Vincent, CFIB’s vice-president. “Long hours and overtime can also negatively affect employees, adding to a low morale in the workplace.”
The report suggests that governments can help by implementing targeted measures, including reducing the tax burden that will allow them to invest in employee compensation, training, and automation. It also recommends streamlining immigration processes to find the talent that small businesses cannot find, and reducing red tape.
“With Canada’s aging population, the shortages will get worse if our labour market approach does not change,” Vincent said.
CFIB says the report highlights the need for the government to address the labour shortage issue and offer support to small businesses.