Looming public transit strike spells bad news for local shops and their employees

Vancouver, November 25 – With the imminent Metro Vancouver public transit strike impacting local small businesses and their employees, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on Coast Mountain Bus Company and Unifor to work together and reach a resolution to avoid further disruption to communities. 

Public transit disruptions could have a significant impact on revenues for small businesses, as the lead up to the holidays is the busiest time of year for most retailers. Faced with less options to get around the city, shoppers may turn more to online options – especially with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals already starting up. Over half (59 per cent) of small businesses in BC do not have an option for customers to purchase from them online, and rely heavily on public transportation to get customers in their doors.

“This holiday season, it’s not snow that’s preventing shoppers from walking into our local businesses. The Metro Vancouver public transit strike means less foot traffic for small, local businesses as potential customers will face significant challenges navigating the city,” says Muriel Protzer, Policy Analyst. 

Securing arrangements for employees to arrive safely for the week is also a challenge, and comes at a time when small businesses are getting low volumes of applicants to open positions and are already struggling to find and retain employees. Nearly three-quarters (71%) of small business owners identify shortage of qualified labour as a serious concern to their business.  

“It is in the best interest for small businesses, employees, customers and the local economy that all parties resolve outstanding issues before Wednesday. In the meantime, employers and employees are working closely together to find alternatives to public transit to ensure staff are able to make it to their shifts,” adds Protzer.  

The CFIB National Retail Sector survey was conducted from November 7 to November 21, 2019 and is based on a sample of 1,370 small business owners from Canada, with 188 from BC. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.65 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Muriel Protzer, 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.