Coronavirus: Third of Canadian small businesses fear imminent closure without help, survey says

One in three businesses in Canada say they cannot survive the current coronavirus pandemic conditions for more than a month, according to a new survey.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, 60 per cent of small businesses have seen a significant drop in sales, with more than a third reporting a reduction greater than 75 per cent.

“More than half of small firms have begun laying off staff, with a quarter reporting they have already been forced to lay off their entire workforce,” president Dan Kelly said.

“At this rate, the only way to prevent massive additional unemployment is for government to introduce a much larger wage subsidy program.”

The small-business advocacy group surveyed nearly 11,000 small business owners.

According to the results, the average cost of the outbreak for affected businesses has also doubled since last week to $136,000.

The organization is proposing a job-retention program that would subsidize wages of employers who are able to retain staff. This would cover at least 75 per cent of wages for all employers, up to a cap of $5,000 per worker per month, and include people who are self-employed and small-business owners.

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