Over half of Canadian small businesses will take six months to return to profitability, finds CFIB survey

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Canadian small businesses have a long, slow road to economic recovery ahead, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’s (CFIB) small business recovery dashboard.

53 percent of Canadian small businesses will need more than six months to return to normal profitability.

As of July 6, preliminary results from the CFIB’s survey suggest 53 percent of Canadian small businesses will need more than six months to return to normal profitability due to COVID-19.

The survey, which began July 3 as part of the CFIB’s #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign, included responses from 3,816 small business owners across Canada.

“Small business recovery is going to be a long, tough road,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive VP. “Governments can and should do more, but ultimately businesses need sales to transition off subsidies and survive.”

According to Jones, customer support is critical to the survival of Canadian small businesses.

“Collectively, individual actions like trying a local business for the first time, giving your hairdresser a bigger tip or buying a new swimsuit from a local store can make a big difference,” Jones added.

Nearly one in three (30 percent of) Canadian small businesses expect it will take more than a year, while five percent fear they will never return to normal profitability.

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CFIB launched its #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign last week. The non-profit organization represents the interests of over 110,000 Canadian owners of small and mid-sized business to all levels of government.

According to CFIB, the main indicators of small business recovery measured by the survey—the proportion of small businesses open, fully staffed, and experiencing normal sales—have not moved significantly since the first week of July, when they demonstrated some improvement. Across Canada, 57 percent of small businesses are fully open, 34 percent are fully staffed. Twenty four percent report experiencing normal sales.

Small business owners reported they are most worried about the overall economy, the fall in consumer spending associated with COVID-19, business cash flow, and debt.

Compared to other provinces, Ontario small businesses are currently faring the worst: 49 percent are fully open, 31 percent are at normal staffing, and 20 percent have at least normal revenues. Ontario has the highest concentration of small businesses in Canada.

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In terms of its proportion of small businesses open, Saskatchewan leads the country at 71 percent, with Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia close behind at 68 percent.

Profitability-wise, small businesses in Prince Edward Island, the first province to reopen, are doing the best, with 34 percent experiencing normal revenues.

Small businesses in New Brunswick have been able to keep their workers employed better than other provinces: nearly half (47 percent) of New Brunswick small businesses are at or above normal staffing levels.

As part of its #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign, the CFIB is profiling a variety of other initiatives aimed at stirring customer support for Canadian small businesses on its website.

“Everyone can play their part in Canada’s economic recovery,” said Jones.

Image source Tim Mossholder via Unsplash

Josh Scott

Josh Scott

Josh is a journalist interested in telling Canadian business and tech stories. His coverage is more complete than his moustache.