Canadian Manufacturing

Two thirds of Canadian business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19: poll

Despite pressures, business owners' optimistic they will rebound as the pandemic eases

November 24, 2020  by CM Staff

COVID-19 continues to test business owners but optimism remains for post-pandemic times: CIBC Poll (CNW Group/CIBC)

TORONTO — A new CIBC study finds that two-thirds (68%) of Canadian business owners continue to feel the negative impacts of COVID-19, with more than half (57%) believing businesses in their area are in crisis mode and 43% believing businesses are in recovery mode. Top concerns are a reduced demand for their products and services (37%) and worries about the overall viability of operations (23%). Despite this, the majority (75%) of business owners remain optimistic they will rebound once the pandemic subsides.

“During these challenging times, Canadian business owners have shown incredible resilience by staying focused on fundamentals and being very nimble and creative,” said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, group head, Personal and Business Banking, CIBC, in a prepared statement. “With so many feeling immediate pressures on revenues, we encourage owners to get advice about their overall financial situation including cash flow management and help managing debt levels.”

Business owners have employed several strategies to continue operating. A third (30%) have increased their virtual presence while a further 16 per cent pivoted their business to operate completely online.

To support cash flow, 56% have used at least one government program this year, and to limit costs, 35% are reducing operating expenses while 28 per cent have cut employee hours. Half (52%) say they are counting on government support to survive.

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Close to a third (29%) expect it will take between a year or two for things to get back to normal, with the majority (81%) agreeing the uncertainty of the current environment remains the hardest aspect to manage.

“Canadians have the opportunity to support their local businesses in the coming weeks as we head into the holiday season and I hope we see friends and neighbours rally around their local communities to help make a difference,” added Dottori-Attanasio.