Regina, June 14, 2018 - The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) was extremely pleased to recognize Montreal yesterday for being the first municipality in Canada to announce it will compensate small businesses severely impacted by construction. Infrastructure projects can spell closure for small businesses in their path and this policy is a promising first step to help them stay in business.
“We commend Montreal for showing leadership on this issue and encourage other municipalities to follow its example and institute policies that support small businesses hurt by construction projects,” said Simon Gaudreault, CFIB director of economic affairs. “Extended roadwork can have devastating effects on small businesses, which often lose sales, have to borrow or relocate to survive, or even close down altogether.”
CFIB recently released a report, Paving a Smoother Road: Helping small businesses survive infrastructure work, which found that since 2012 as many as 65,000 businesses have been seriously affected by infrastructure projects. CFIB also issued a challenge to municipalities to compensate small businesses and adopt a coherent construction mitigation policy that includes a “no surprise” rule, a comprehensive planning approach, an improved contracting process and a business liaison officer for each project.
Over the last three months, CFIB has been an active member of the advisory committee put in place by the City of Montreal to improve the business climate in the retail and hospitality sectors. The final report of the committee, unveiled last Monday, included several recommendations for the City on construction mitigation, which were in turn significantly aligned with CFIB’s latest report on this important issue. This significant announcement by the City is the next logical step in improving the outcomes for business impacted by roadwork.
Among other measures, the plan announced by Montreal promises to:
- Develop a voluntary compensation program for businesses affected by construction, by offering as much as $30,000 per business per year, retroactive to January 1, 2016
- Implement new actions to help better mitigate roadwork (e.g. training, signage)
- Put in place a coherent communications strategy before, during and after roadwork
“In Saskatchewan there are two seasons: winter and construction, and many cities across Saskatchewan are experiencing significant development and infrastructure upgrades. While this is good news for growth, construction projects can have unintended consequences as they are carried out, including significant disruptions to small businesses caught in the construction zone,” said Jennifer Henshaw, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst for the Prairie region.
“That’s why we’re urging Saskatchewan municipalities to follow the City of Montreal’s example and implement a comprehensive construction mitigation policy which includes compensation for those businesses severely impacted by road construction,” added Henshaw. “Given that the City of Moose Jaw’s High Street West was named the worst road in the province according to CAA Saskatchewan, the City needs to show the same bold leadership.”
“While we recognize the City of Moose Jaw took over the completion of the unfinished construction on High Street West, the City still needs to introduce concrete measures to mitigate the impact of the costly construction delays,” concluded Henshaw.
To arrange an interview with Jennifer Henshaw CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst, Prairie Region, please call (306) 757-0000, 888 234-2232 or email [email protected]. You may follow CFIB Saskatchewan on Twitter @cfibsk.
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (5,250 in Saskatchewan) across every sector and region. Learn more at cfib.ca