Recovery still a long way off as small business sales struggle to reignite

CFIB encourages Canadians to shop local this summer to fuel small business recovery 

Toronto, August 5, 2020 – Only one in four small businesses are back to making normal sales, according to new data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard, part of its #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign. Canada’s small business owners worry consumer spending is going to continue to be muted even as more businesses reopen across the country. 

CFIB’s latest Small Business Recovery Dashboard results show:

  • 63 per cent of small businesses are fully open (+10 % since June)
  • 39 per cent are fully staffed (+7% since June)
  • 26 per cent are making normal sales (+7% since June)

“This summer has been a hard one for small businesses. As Canadians drive or walk through their neighbourhoods, they see more open shops and restaurants and may believe that businesses are back to normal operations. But behind the counter, the story is often very different,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “Only a quarter of small firms report their sales are at normal levels, and another quarter remain down by 50 per cent or more.”

More than three out of five business owners are worried that consumer spending will remain low, even following the COVID-19 crisis. Last week, CFIB released a report showing one in seven small businesses (158,000) are at risk of going under as a result of COVID-19, on top of the ones that have already closed. Canada could see as few as 55,000 businesses shut their doors permanently or many as 218,000, depending on how its recovery goes.   

“With just one month left this summer, CFIB urges Canadians to make this the summer of small business. Every Canadian can make a big difference by choosing to support local businesses, whether it be buying from a small local retailer rather than a big brand or box store, or asking friends about their favourite local businesses and checking them out,” said Kelly. “We hope to see Canadians out in force supporting small businesses throughout August.” 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

Source for CFIB data
These are preliminary results for Your Business and COVID-19 – Survey #18, a new CFIB online survey started on July 31, 2020, completed by 4,669 CFIB members. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 percent, 19 times out of 20. Results are compared to the Small Business Recovery Dashboard data released on June 25th. 

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

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