CFIB STATEMENT: Small business holiday hopes dashed by more restrictions during make-or-break season

Toronto, November 20, 2020 - Today’s decision by the Ontario government to return to modified Stage 1 lockdown is devastating news for small business owners in Toronto and Peel Region.

It is outrageous that today’s restrictions once again create an unfair advantage for big box operators like Walmart and Costco, leaving Main Street retailers to shoulder the burden alone. That large department stores can be open while small retailers are forced to close during the busiest season of the year is a direct punch to the gut of independent businesses.

We call on the government to immediately develop a “Small Business First” retail strategy for the province that would allow small retailers to open with capacity limits for the holiday shopping season.

Many businesses in these regions have already lost three to five months of their year from government shutdowns. Without immediate and full assistance, many won’t survive. Seeing any of these businesses close permanently would be a loss for owners, employees, communities and Ontario’s overall recovery efforts. 

The Ontario government must step up to ensure full financial support, so these businesses are able to reopen again – instead of close for good – after the shutdown. Current supports are a drop in the bucket – the province must open up its wallet to support small businesses through the lockdown period.

We urge the government to make the data behind this decision public to demonstrate that shopping and other business activities are the source of rising COVID-19 numbers. Too many business owners feel they are being unfairly targeted so the government can send a signal to the public that they need to take the pandemic seriously. 

- Dan Kelly, President
- Ryan Mallough, Director of Provincial Affairs, Ontario
- 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 110,000 members across every sector and region, including over 42,000 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