Alberta could lose an additional 32,500 small businesses to COVID-19, nearly one in five Alberta businesses are at risk of closure

Government and consumer support make-or-break for small business survival

Calgary, July 29, 2020 – Across Canada one in seven small businesses are at risk of going under as a result of COVID-19 in addition to the ones that have already closed, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in a new report featured on its Small Business Recovery Dashboard, part of its #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign. CFIB’s national mid-range estimate for business closures due to COVID-19 is 158,000 (14 per cent of small businesses). Depending on how the recovery goes, losses could be as few as 55,000 (5 per cent) or as many as 218,000 (19 per cent). 
“Small businesses are big players in our economy, so minimizing business losses is critical to recovery. Right now both government support and consumer behaviour are critical to transitioning back to conditions that allow businesses to survive and thrive,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB.

The Alberta average for small businesses at risk of closing is the highest in the country at 32,500 (19 per cent of small businesses. The province could see small businesses closures as low as 13,000 (8 per cent) or as many as 42,000 (25 per cent).

“It’s concerning Alberta has the highest rate in the country at 19 per cent of small businesses actively considering bankruptcy or winding down their business,” said Annie Dormuth, Alberta Provincial Affairs Director. “All of this points to the fact consumer support and the support from all of us will be vital to ensuring Alberta small businesses have a tomorrow.”

Businesses in the arts and recreation (gyms, venues, arcades) and hospitality (restaurants, hotels, caterers) sectors are most at risk—hospitality may see 27 per cent of businesses close and arts and recreation, 30 per cent.

CFIB’s latest Small Business Recovery Dashboard Alberta results continue to show that (unchanged from last week):

  • 66 per cent of small businesses are fully open
  • 36 per cent are fully staffed
  • 25 per cent are making normal sales

Last month, CFIB launched #SmallBusinessEveryDay to encourage local shopping through a series of doable challenges and promote other initiatives that support small business recovery. Consumers can find information about the many campaigns such as the new Canada United campaign, which will donate funds to hard-hit businesses when Canadians take simple actions like using the hashtag #CanadaUnited on Twitter.

“With many provinces heading into a long weekend, we hope people will visit and accept a challenge as a fun way to spend time with friends and family while helping local businesses. It’s all about supporting our favourite businesses today so they will be here tomorrow. There are many great campaigns that help amplify that support. No one is too small to make a difference,” said Jones.

Read CFIB’s full research snapshot for more details.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Annie Dormuth
Alberta Provincial Affairs Director

Source of CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard data
These are preliminary results for Your Business and COVID-19 – Survey #17, a new CFIB online survey started on July 17, 2020, completed by 5,269 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

Source of CFIB’s business closure estimates
Detailed in the report How many Canadian businesses are at risk of permanently closing due to COVID-19? from July 2020.

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, including 10,000 in Alberta. 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

About #SmallBusinessEveryDay
The #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign is an extension of CFIB’s annual Small Business Saturday. The campaign encourages local shopping, promotes initiatives to support small business and provides posters and other tools for businesses to use. It is supported by Scotiabank, Chase Merchant Services, eBay Canada, Intuit Canada, Interac Corp and Star Metroland Media. To find out more about being a media sponsor please contact