TORONTO – BUSINESS – Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says, “We can’t keep doing this. Two weeks to flatten the curve for the health care system is quickly turning into two years for small businesses affected by lockdowns and other restrictions”.
Kelly adds, “Closing gyms, indoor dining, and arts and recreation venues is a particularly devastating way to ring in the new year for some of the hardest-hit industries already on their knees. In Toronto, indoor dining has already lost 408 days to closure. Gyms have lost 395″.
The CFIB states that “Recovery has never truly begun for most Ontario businesses: Only 35 per cent of Ontario’s small firms are at normal revenues. The average COVID-19 debt for an Ontario small business is an alarming $190,000, and 18.5 per cent are actively considering bankruptcy”.
There are currently no provincial supports for small businesses and desperately needed grant funding has not been available since April 7, a day before the third lockdown began. The government’s promised property tax/energy rebate program and tax payment deferrals will provide some relief; however, they are not nearly enough, not accessible today, and will kick the debt can further down the road.
Restrictions of any kind when businesses need to start making up for months and months of lost revenues will be the tipping point for many small firms. It is not lost on business owners that each time the Ontario government has closed businesses, they have gone well beyond the promised lockdown period.
CFIB calls on the government to immediately reintroduce provincial grant support for all businesses affected in any way by today’s announcement and provide an immediate pathway to reopening.