Ontario small business COVID-19 debt almost $50B

#SmallBusinessEveryDay customer support critical to recovery

Toronto, July 15, 2020 – Three quarters of Ontario’s small businesses have taken on debt as a result of COVID-19 and a majority of those with debt (67 per cent) estimate it will take more than a year to pay off, according to new survey results featured this week on the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard

The dashboard is part of CFIB’s #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign encouraging Ontarians to get involved in the recovery effort by shopping local. Other key indicators include the number of Ontario businesses that are fully open (49 per cent), the number that are back to normal staffing (32 per cent), and the number that are back to normal revenues (20 per cent).

Small businesses in Ontario that have incurred debt because of the pandemic report they have taken on about $152,000 of debt on average. CFIB estimates that the total small business debt in the province taken on because of COVID-19 is $49.9 billion. To finance COVID-19 revenue shortfalls and extra costs, Ontario businesses are relying on personal savings (43 per cent), credit cards (36 per cent), bank loans (19 per cent), retirement savings (13 per cent), mortgages (10 per cent), and loans from families and friends (10 per cent).  

“Government debt has ballooned and so too has the private debt taken on by small businesses to deal with COVID-19,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs, Ontario. “As the province moves to Stage 3 of its economic recovery on Friday, government and customer support will again become critical to helping businesses survive COVID-19.” 

CFIB recently launched #SmallBusinessEveryDay to promote initiatives across Canada that support local businesses and emphasize the importance of customers to their recovery. At www.SmallBusinessEveryDay.ca, consumers will find information about Ontario campaigns such as the provincial government’s #ShopLocalON, GIFTforward, and #HoodStrong (Mississauga). 

“Ontario’s revenue-starved businesses desperately need sales to make up for many weeks of slim or no revenues while bills piled up,” said Kwiecinski. “The more we think and shop local, the better we can help small businesses get to the other side of COVID-19.”    

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 industry and region, including 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 cfib.ca.

About #SmallBusinessEveryDay
The #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign is an extension of CFIB’s annual Small Business Saturday. The campaign encourages local shopping, promotes initiatives to support small business, and provides posters and other tools for businesses to use. It is supported by Scotiabank, Chase Merchant Services, eBay Canada, Intuit Canada, Interac Corp and Star Metroland Media. To find out more about being a media sponsor, please contact marketing@cfib.ca.