44 per cent of small firms now fully open, but only 15 per cent have seen sales return to normal

Toronto, June 8, 2020 – 44 per cent of Canada’s small businesses are now fully open, up from 38 per cent two weeks ago, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). However, many regional and sectoral differences remain and some sectors, particularly restaurants and hospitality, continue to be largely closed. Only 15 per cent of small firms report their sales have returned to normal.  

New Brunswick (59 per cent) and Alberta (54 per cent) lead the way with the largest share of open businesses, while Newfoundland and Labrador (24 per cent) continues to trail the rest of the country.

% fully open and sales by province

% fully open 59 54 51 50 49 47 47 37 24
% normal sales 17 15 25 20 16 21 17 12 5

*Weekly sample size too small in PEI

“There are definite signs that economies are awakening, with more than half of small businesses reporting they are fully open in some provinces,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “However, for many recovery is another question as just opening your doors does not guarantee your customers will return. I am deeply worried about the future of businesses in sectors like transportation, health and social services, arts and recreation and restaurants/hospitality as fewer than one in 10 of these firms have sales at or near normal. Our main street businesses will need a lot more support, both from government and from consumers, before the crisis is behind them.” 

% fully open and sales by sector

  % open % normal sales
Agriculture 73 36
Construction 73 20
Manufacturing 63 16
Professional services (e.g. law firms) 62 26
Wholesale 56 17
Enterprise management 56 18
Finance, insurance, real estate 52 27
Transportation 50 4
Retail 44 22
Personal services (e.g. hair salons) 44 13
Social services (e.g. chiropractors) 29 5
Arts and recreation (e.g. gyms) 21 3
Hospitality (e.g. restaurants) 13 5

Small businesses were hit particularly hard by lockdowns across the country, and though most provinces have allowed some to reopen with modifications, their recovery is uneven. Only 13 per cent of hospitality/restaurant businesses and 21 per cent of arts and recreation businesses are fully open, compared to 44 per cent of retailers and firms in the personal services sector. Additionally, certain personal services businesses, like hairdressers, remain closed in most provinces.

To support small businesses through the bumpy road to recovery, CFIB has developed a number of tools and resources, including:

  • Free access to CFIB’s team of experts for one-on-one advice on all government support programs
  • A downloadable “Back to Business” kit, including information on provincial guidelines, a customizable “We’re open” poster and workplace safety templates
  • A “PPEs for SMEs” Facebook group, where small businesses looking to buy PPE can connect with those that produce it 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

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 industry and region. 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 cfib.ca.