A survey released this morning from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), found that 60 per cent of small businesses have reported a significant drop in sales due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The CFIB, which is an organization that promotes the interests of small businesses in Canada and represents over 110,000 members, surveyed over 11,000 small businesses starting on March 20.
Out of the businesses that reported a decrease in sales, 38 per cent said that revenues were down by more than 75 per cent since early January 2020.
The CFIB’s survey also found that 55 per cent of businesses are partially or entirely shut down, and 25 per cent of businesses have already laid off all of their staff.
“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,” Dan Kelly, the president of CFIB, said in a press release. “At this rate, the only way to prevent massive additional unemployment is for [the] government to introduce a much larger wage subsidy program.”
The CFIB is proposing what they call the COVID-19 Job Retention Program, which would subsidize at least 75 per cent of wages for all employers, up to $5,000 per worker per month, so employers would be able to retain their staff.
The CFIB is also asking for governments to consider ensuring that self-employed workers receive some income support throughout the pandemic, as well as give tax relief by deferring sales taxes, and forgiving the payment of income, sales, and payroll taxes for the next three months.
“While governments are working hard on the health emergency created by COVID-19, much more needs to be done to address the related economic emergency,” Kelly said. “It is essential that governments move quickly to safeguard local jobs and our economy by putting in place measures that will allow businesses to survive these unprecedented circumstances.”
There are 2,187 confirmed and presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Canada, as of Tuesday afternoon.