Manitoba municipalities need to follow suit
Winnipeg, 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 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. The 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 Manitoba there are two seasons; winter and construction, and many cities across the province 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 those small businesses caught in the construction zone,” said Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba.
“CFIB will be meeting with Mayor Brian Bowman on July 12th and is challenging the City of Winnipeg to become the second Canadian municipality to adopt these important recommendations,” added Alward. “We’ve talked to dozens of Winnipeg business owners who have been severely impacted by roadwork. There are many ways the City can continue reducing the impact of road construction in order to help these affected businesses.”
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every sector and region.
To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, Director of Provincial Affairs for Manitoba, please call 1 888-234-2232, 204-982-0817 or email [email protected]. You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.