Critical Atlantic labour shortages forcing small businesses to do more with less

Broader immigration and credits for investment needed now: CFIB

Halifax, December 3, 2018— The Atlantic Canada labour force is shrinking rapidly. Small businesses in the region are being forced to adapt to a troubling reality. Workers are becoming increasingly hard to find. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ (CFIB) latest report shows how these labour shortages are threatening economic growth. More than one in five businesses are considering cancelling expansion plans because they simply can’t find people.

“As a first line of defense, small business owners are doing more hands on work themselves. For those with persistent staffing challenges, future growth is next to impossible,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB’s vice president for Atlantic Canada.

Immigration is the primary tool being used to offset population decline, but immigration programs tend to target only highly-skilled, highly-educated workers.  CFIB’s report reveals regional small business owners urgently need workers at all skill levels.

“To augment the success of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot Program, we are again recommending an Introduction to Canada Visa, giving lower-skilled workers the opportunity to work towards permanent residency,” said Morgan.

Many businesses are also investing in equipment and other technology to innovate and stay productive.  Unfortunately, already high taxes in the region, unnecessary regulatory burden, and increasing federal tax loads such as CPP and the carbon taxes make it more difficult for small businesses to contribute towards future projects and investments.

“Government funding is too limited in scope and application processes can be loaded with red tape. Many small businesses either can’t or don’t have the resources to access them. Regional governments should be looking for ways to allow small businesses to claim much more of what is spent on new equipment or technology in the year of purchase.” said Morgan.

For the full report, please visit

About CFIB The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members across every sector and region, including 13,000 in Atlantic Canada. 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