Reposted from an article on CTV January 21, 2021

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EDMONTON — New numbers from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses show that 17 per cent of businesses in Canada are in danger of closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means up to 181,000 businesses nationwide could shut their doors for good.

In Alberta and Ontario, the numbers are even higher, with 22 per cent and 20 per cent of businesses considering bankruptcy or winding down operations, putting 34,498 in danger of closing.

“Unfortunately the highlights are dire for Alberta small businesses,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta Provincial Affairs Director for CFIB. “This is an updated report from one we did back in July of 2020. Unfortunately for small business across the province, we are seeing an increase in local entrepreneurs and small biz owners at risk of closing.

“As we saw in the summer, Alberta is still leading the nation or has the highest number of small businesses closing at 22 per cent. We are seeing an increase in province such an Ontario and Quebec, which are around 20 per cent, which did increase in June and July, obviously those provinces have much stronger restrictions and lockdown measures on small businesses compared to Alberta.”

Businesses that are most at risk are in the hospitality and arts/recreation/information fields.

“As we have seen throughout this entire prolonged pandemic and economic impacts on small business, those in the hospitality, arts and culture, and fitness sectors are the most at most risk of permanent closure, and that’s largely attributed to the fact these businesses rely on in person sales or in person operations and services,” Dormuth said.

The CFIB estimates that 20 per cent of private sector jobs nationwide and 41 per cent of Alberta private sector jobs are at risk. According to the mid-range estimate, 624,998 jobs could disappear in the province because of business closures.

“This really needs to sound the alarm that this is a really dire situation for our Alberta small business and we really reached a critical junction in this pandemic. We are quite simply saying small businesses are barely hanging on. They simply need to reopen and make revenues in order to survive and see through this.” 

Dormuth says the CFIB is calling for clarity from the provincial government on when restrictions will be lifted on Alberta businesses, as well as guidance on reopening safely.

“We saw back in December some miscommunication on the government’s side, saying salons and barbers are safe, there are no cases, but two weeks later we entered a complete closure for those industries.

“If there is a spread in our business, please tell us and we can work on ways to mitigate those, but again we haven’t had that communication from the Alberta government.”