One-third of Ontario businesses report they will not survive the second lockdown

Ontario expands Canada’s most anti-small business COVID restrictions

Toronto, December 21, 2020 – The Ontario government’s decision to extend and expand lockdowns across the province is another big hit in a long line of crushing blows to small business owners.

“Today’s announcement guarantees the demise of thousands upon thousands of Ontario’s small businesses,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “The government should have used this as an opportunity to fine-tune existing restrictions based on the data, instead of expanding this blunt measure to additional regions of the province. Workers are going to lose their jobs. Business owners and their families will see their dreams crushed and their homes lost to the banks.”

“Ontario has now expanded the most anti-small business lockdown measure in the country. No other province in Canada closes small businesses while allowing big-box stores to sell similar goods in-store. Our members are dumbfounded as to why their government continues to feel that it is safer to buy a book, bracelet or pair of shoes at Walmart or Costco than to buy the same items at their quiet, local independent retailer,” said Ryan Mallough, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Ontario. “The government has consistently chosen big box over small business throughout the pandemic. Today’s move puts a bow on an even merrier Christmas for Walmart and Costco at the expense of Ontario's small retailers.”

CFIB data shows that over a third of Ontario businesses report their business will not survive a second lockdown.

CFIB recommends that the Ontario government:

  • Expand small business support to:
    o Immediately top up the federal Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to up to 100% for businesses in lockdown zones
    o Immediately top up the federal Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to up to 100% for businesses in lockdown zones
  • Expand eligibility for the Ontario PPE grant to all businesses, regardless of size or sector, and substantially increase the value from the current $1,000
  • Increase funding to the $600-million program for energy and property taxes to reflect the additional volume of businesses in lockdown

“Today’s grant announcement is a step in the right direction, but the province must open its wallet even more to help small businesses make it through the lockdown period,” added Kelly. “Let’s not forget that the government chose to close small businesses, so they cannot be expected to survive without full economic support.  Nothing short of 100 per cent support for affected businesses will get them to the other side of COVID-19.”

For media inquiries or interviews, please contact:
Wissal El Alaoui, 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