Canadian Manufacturing

Vast majority of small businesses haven’t fully recovered from the pandemic, survey shows

Fewer than one in five businesses say they are fully recovered, rising to one in 20 for some hard-hit sectors.

August 5, 2021  Canadian Manufacturing

More than 80 per cent of small businesses have not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new survey shows, and that share rises above 90 per cent for hard-hit sectors like arts and recreation (95 per cent) and hospitality (96 per cent).

Conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), the survey also reveals that businesses that have not recovered say it will take them an average of 23 months to get back to normal.

“While we are starting to put the worst of the COVID storm behind us, for small businesses clean-up and recovery is its own daunting task,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice president.

The survey asked small businesses to define what recovery means to them. The top answers include:

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  • Being back to pre-pandemic sales (46 per cent)
  • No longer experiencing high stress and anxiety levels due to COVID-19 (45 per cent)
  • No longer experiencing pandemic related delays in supplies and shipping (44 per cent)
  • Being allowed to be fully open without restrictions (40 per cent)
  • Having paid off any debt incurred due to COVID-19 (39 per cent)
  • Being back to pre-pandemic staffing (27 per cent)
  • No longer worrying about having to close their business permanently (24 per cent)
  • Having established a set of “new normal” practices for employees and customers (23 per cent)

“Recovery means much more than getting back to normal sales and staffing – it’s also about paying down debt and processing the shock to our collective systems,” said Simon Gaudreault, vice president of national research at CFIB. “Things are starting to look much more normal on the surface but there is still a long road ahead for many business owners who remain stressed out about the future.”

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members across every industry and region.