COVID-19 outbreak 'a disaster' for small businesses: CFIB
CALGARY -- A new survey from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) suggests more than half of Alberta businesses are no longer fully open.
Results from the Your Business & COVID-19 survey released Tuesday morning show just 44 per cent of 1,088 firms polled in the province are still in full operation.
Meanwhile, 61 per cent of respondents (approx. 664 small businesses) report “significant decreases” in sales.
Annie Dormuth, the Alberta director of provincial affairs for CFIB, says one-third of businesses may now close if additional relief is not provided at this time.
“A further 50 per cent are also saying they’ve had to close or partially close because of the virus,” she said.
“What we are advocating for strongly is that the 10 per cent wage subsidy announced last week by the federal government now be increased to 75 per cent, which is closer to levels in other Western European countries.”
Demuth adds that increasing the wage subsidy for all workers — up to a cap of $5,000 per month — is crucial in avoiding further layoffs at a time when consumers are less likely to spend.
“With regard to loss of revenue, the average cost to a small business right now is about $100,000 and that’s quite striking, so furthermore, a lot of these firms simply won’t be able to survive for a couple months given these decreases.”
With mass temporary and permanent layoffs, more than 500,000 Canadians applied to Service Canada for Employment Insurance last week.
As self-isolated and laid off Alberta workers feel the effects, Premier Jason Kenney has promised to provide support.
Eligible residents will be able to apply at Alberta.ca for a one-time payout of $1,146 before longer term federal supports kick in next month.
Premier Kenney’s press secretary, Christine Myatt, confirmed to CTV News that more information will be released Tuesday explaining the criteria and how Albertans can apply for the funds.