CFIB statement on Ontario lifting COVID-19 restrictions

Toronto, February 14, 2022 - We are pleased the Ontario government has announced it will lift many of the remaining COVID-19-related business restrictions sooner than initially planned. This is a positive step toward recovery and welcome news to the province’s small businesses.

CFIB’s latest survey data shows that:

  • 74 per cent of Ontario’s small businesses believe it’s time for capacity restrictions to be lifted
  • 66 per cent of Ontario’s small businesses believe it’s time for proof-of-vaccination requirements to be eliminated

Removing business restrictions is a big step, but just the first in a small business recovery plan. Only 33 per cent of the province’s small businesses have returned to normal sales levels. The average Ontario small business has taken on nearly $170,000 in new debt just to survive the past two years, and many are dealing with ongoing challenges related to labour shortages, supply chain disruptions, and rising prices.

We urge the Ontario government to back up today’s announcement with a stay-open plan to provide clarity and certainty as we continue to manage the pandemic. This would include ensuring there is adequate healthcare capacity to avoid any renewed restrictions or business closures in the future.

We also call on the Ontario government to make efforts to boost consumer confidence over the weeks ahead. After two years of uncertainty, government messaging needs to shift to encouraging the safe return to activities like dining in restaurants, going to the gym or the movies, attending events, and travelling, so that our small businesses can finally begin the long road to recovery.

-Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)
-Julie Kwiecinski, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario

For media inquiries 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 95,000 members across every industry and region, including 38,000 in Ontario. 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