April 23, 2020

Episode #10: Small business in Canada: how do we recover from COVID-19?

The Business Council of Alberta has been looking at the response to COVID-19 through the lens of protecting people, business and economy. Over the past few episodes, we have looked broadly at how well government programs have supported Canadians and businesses through an unparalleled economic crisis and what gaps exist within those programs.

In this episode, we look at how a massive driver of our economy—small business—is dealing with the economic fallout of COVID-19.

2020 has not been an easy year for small businesses in Canada. COVID-19 is just one in a series of challenging events that the small business community has had to respond to.

As a result of the COVID-19 economic fallout,

  • Only 20% of small and medium enterprises are open right now
  • 22% have no sales
  • 1/3 saw revenue declines of 50% or more
  • 51% may not survive past May 2020

Many are struggling for support to pay rent, wages and other fixed costs. The need for big, bold and fast solutions from Ottawa and the provinces is immediate. And the support is there, but is it enough, and how many businesses are left out?

Dan Kelly is the President & CEO of the Canadian Federation for Independent Business. An influential and expert voice in small business issues, Kelly joins AlbertaBETTER co-hosts Adam Legge and Scott Crockatt to discuss how well government programs like Canada Emergency Business Account and Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy provides support for hard-hit businesses and what the road to re-opening the economy and recovery looks like.

For over 40 years, CFIB has been at the centre of small business politics, effectively fighting for your rights and livelihood. Our informal motto is we never give up and we never go away.

Dan Kelly, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

In This Episode:

  • Top challenges small business is experiencing right now
  • How well current government programs support small business and where gaps exist
  • How provincial governments can step up and provide some immediate relief
  • Opportunities to allow some sort of economic activity to happen within small business, while still protecting public health
  • What the road to recovery looks like for small business, and how this crisis will shift business models perhaps permanently

Key Takeaways:

  • The challenges that small businesses are facing right are unprecedented, and many are struggling to access the support they need, even with the government programs, and without proper support immediately, the risk of businesses closing permanently is high, but with small changes to the government programs, we can reduce that risk and look to start to re-open and recover

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