Half of small businesses now fully open: New Brunswick is Canada’s most open province; Ontario is most closed

Toronto, June 16, 2020 – Half of small businesses are now fully open, but sales remain low, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Only 17 per cent indicate they are making their usual sales for this time of year.

New Brunswick is Canada’s most open province, with two thirds of businesses there fully open, but only one in four reporting that they are making normal sales. As a result of a significant reopening of the small business community in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario is now Canada’s most closed economy with 43 per cent of small firms fully open. Businesses in Nova Scotia and Ontario are struggling the most from a sales perspective with only 12 and 14 per cent respectively reporting they are making their usual sales revenue for this time of year.

% fully open and sales by province

% fully open 67 66 61 57 57 52 51 51 50 43
% with normal sales 24 20 22 21 25 21 17 19 12 14

*Weekly sample size too small in PEI

“This week marks a major milestone in Canada’s economic recovery with half of small businesses now fully open,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “However, the share of those making normal sales remains very low. Only 30 per cent of firms that are fully open report normal sales levels. This tells us that we have a long, long way to go before small firms are out of the woods.” 

% fully open and sales by sector

  % fully open % with normal sales
Agriculture 78 45
Construction 77 21
Professional services (e.g. law firms) 66 25
Manufacturing 65 20
Wholesale 62 17
Transportation 61 8
Finance, insurance, real estate 60 30
Personal services (e.g. hair salons) 58 16
Enterprise management 52 18
Retail 49 24
Social services (e.g. chiropractors) 39 6
Arts and recreation (e.g. gyms) 24 6
Hospitality (e.g. restaurants) 18 7

The hospitality/restaurant and arts and recreation sectors continue to have the lowest share of fully open businesses, and the lowest share making normal sales, along with social services and transportation. The transportation and construction sectors have the biggest gaps between fully open businesses and those making normal sales. 

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 at cfib.ca/introductoryoffer
  • A downloadable “Back to Business” kit, including information on provincial guidelines, a customizable “We’re open” poster and workplace safety templates at cfib.ca/backtobusiness
  • A “PPEs for SMEs” Facebook group, where small businesses looking to buy PPE can connect with those that produce it 
  • A program to boost confidence among consumers that they can safely return to small firms through CFIB’s participation in the POST Promise

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.