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Road construction: hidden costs that affect your business

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.

CFIB met with the Mayor of Winnipeg, Brian Bowman, and the Mayor of Brandon, Rick Chrest to explain the impacts that municipal construction has on businesses like yours, and to show these local governments that there are practical solutions to help address this problem.

Tens of thousands of businesses impacted

If your business has been disrupted by road construction projects in recent years, you are not alone. 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 in 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.

Congratulations to Montreal, the first city to accept our challenge!

The battle continues

We will continue to push 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 call CFIB at 1888-234-2232 or 204-982-0817.

May 1, 2018

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Topics in this Article: Local Government

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