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Road construction: hidden costs that affect your business

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Road construction is a major irritant for many of you. It causes a drop in sales, adds additional costs to your operations and becomes a source of stress. The very survival of your business might even be at stake. So we have decided to tackle the problem.

We challenged municipalities across the country to adopt a coherent construction mitigation policy, including a compensation program for the worst cases.

Congratulations to Montreal, the first city to accept our challenge! Montreal’s financial assistance program for business owners will be retroactive to January 1, 2016, and represents an investment of $25 million.

La FCEI au lancement du programme d'aide financière de Montréal

Left: Simon Gaudreault, CFIB senior director of national research, with Montreal Mayor, Valerie Plante, at the announcement of the program’s implementation. Right: Mr. Gaudreault at the announcement of the details of the program in November 2018.

If you have a business in Montreal and your activities have been or are being disrupted by major roadwork, here’s what you need to know:

  • Your financial losses will be reimbursed at 85 percent, up to a yearly maximum of $30,000.
  • You can present your application starting ion mid-January 2019.
  • The first reimbursements will be made in the spring of 2019.
  • The application process has been simplified and you will just have to submit your tax returns and your GST/QST reports.
  • You will be able to submit your application electronically.

Do you have questions about the program? Call your Business Counsellors, he can for help you!

We are continuing our work and encourage all municipalities to follow Montreal’s example, because Montreal is not the only place where roadwork affects businesses. Small businesses throughout the country need their elected municipal officials to show leadership and take action on this matter

Tens of thousands of businesses impacted

We surveyed CFIB members in 2017, and 41% said they had been negatively impacted by such projects between 2012 and 2017. For 5% of all businesses surveyed, the hit was major.

We are talking about 65,000 SMEs in Canada that often had to borrow money, relocate or fully close down because of the major adverse effects of infrastructure work on their activities.

Those are just some of the consequences; there are many others:

  • 64% of businesses have been disrupted by traffic, dust, debris or noise
  • 63% report that customers have trouble parking or accessing their business
  • 46% have seen a drop in sales
  • 23% have had to cope with stress
  • 21% have had to draw on their personal or business savings
  • 14% have incurred additional expenses
  • 7% have even considered closing or relocating
There ARE solutions

Road construction is a necessary evil, but there are solutions that can mitigate its effects on your business. We are challenging municipalities across Canada to implement a policy to support small businesses that are threatened by major infrastructure projects. This policy should include five basic elements: 

  1. First and foremost, a municipal compensation program for cases where construction has a moderate to major impact for an extended period.
  2. A "no surprise" rule requiring the municipality to track its infrastructure’s condition and let local businesses know of construction well in advance.
  3. A comprehensive planning approach based on the “dig once” principle and the phasing/timing of projects.
  4. An improved contracting process integrating mitigation provisions and a bonus/penalty system, especially for early or late completion of projects.
  5. A business liaison officer with managerial authority designated for each project and having particular responsibility as an intermediary between businesses and construction site managers.
The battle continues

We will continue to exert pressure on municipalities to ensure that they help you survive any road construction projects. Do you have a story to tell? Photos to send us? If so, please give your Business Counsellor a call.