CFIB: Manitoba small businesses faced with diminishing inventories and lost sales due to MGEU strike

Winnipeg, August 15, 2023 – Over half (53%) of Manitoba small businesses in the hospitality industry are running out of products as a result of the ongoing Manitoba Government and General Employees' Union’s (MGEUs) selective strike, according to survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Half of small businesses in the province report they’ve had to temporarily reduce their service offerings and more than a third (37%) indicate they’ve lost revenues due to the strike.

With no resolution in sight, CFIB has written a letter to the Honourable Andrew Smith, Minister Responsible for the Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) Corporation, calling on the Manitoba government to prioritize ending the strike and provide some relief by offering wholesale prices on alcohol to restaurants and other licensed food service ventures.

“At a time when Manitoba small businesses are battling to cope with inflation, ongoing labour shortages, debt, and rising interest rates their struggles are being exacerbated by the supply disruptions caused by this strike,” said Brianna Solberg, CFIB provincial affairs director. “We’re hearing from members who are left with little to no inventory - forcing them to turn away customers. Some fear even if the strike ends soon, it will be a while before things are back to normal because of the backlog.”

When asked how long their business could survive without government action if the current situation were to continue, an alarming 14 per cent of businesses in the hospitality sector said they would be forced to close in less than two weeks. An additional 14 per cent of businesses indicated they would survive less than a month.

Unless the parties are able to negotiate a deal immediately through collective bargaining, two thirds of Manitoba small business owners support the Manitoba government enacting back-to-work legislation so that businesses are not unfairly punished by circumstances outside of their control.

“Enough is enough. Small businesses cannot continually bear the brunt of service and supply chain disruptions. To prevent more business closures and layoffs it is becoming increasingly urgent for this labour dispute to be resolved,” concluded Solberg.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

About CFIB

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region, including 4,000 in Manitoba. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at