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Saskatchewan small businesses mark second anniversary of COVID: Sales remain low, debt remains high, and many are considering permanent closure

Regina, March 9, 2022 – Two years into the pandemic, Saskatchewan small businesses are a long way from recovery, according to the latest Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Small Business Recovery Dashboard. Only 34 per cent of Saskatchewan small businesses have returned to normal sales, while debt levels and the share of businesses considering bankruptcy remain high. 

“While it is good news that COVID restrictions have been lifted in Saskatchewan, the economic damage to small business has been massive and has left many in a very precarious position,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB Saskatchewan provincial affairs director. “It’s critical that as we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic, the Saskatchewan government holds off on any cost increases. The upcoming 2022-23 provincial budget presents an opportunity for the Saskatchewan government to provide cost relief for small businesses.  Especially given that one in seven (15 per cent) of Saskatchewan small businesses are actively considering bankruptcy or permanently winding down operations.” 

In Saskatchewan, nearly two thirds of businesses (62 per cent) report taking on debt, at an average of $95,188 per business. However, businesses in some sectors like hospitality and arts and recreation are faring considerably worse than the average.

Since the start of 2022, the share of Saskatchewan small businesses reporting normal sales has actually decreased, from 36 per cent to 34 per cent. Until more businesses can get back to normal sales, their capacity to face new costs or repay debt remains significantly reduced. To give small businesses time to recover, CFIB is hoping to see the following in the upcoming provincial budget:  

  • Freeze the small business tax rate at 0% rather than increasing it to 1% on July 1, 2022 
  • Freeze education property tax mill rates at their new levels 
  • Keep labour costs down for small businesses  
  • Provide ongoing cost relief to businesses while they strive to recover from the impacts of the pandemic 
  • Any Saskatchewan carbon tax proposal should include measures to offset any new costs associated with carbon pricing 

“Saskatchewan’s small businesses have borne the brunt of two years of off-and-on COVID restrictions and will be dealing with the fallout of the pandemic for months, if not years. Imposing new costs and higher taxes on them right could be the final nail in the coffin for some,” concluded Dormuth.  
 

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact: 
Annie Dormuth 
CFIB Saskatchewan provincial affairs director 
403-700-1945 
[email protected]

Methodology 
This press release presents findings from the following recent CFIB surveys: 

  • Your Voice – February 2022: An online survey completed by 4,001 CFIB members between February 9-25, 2022. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.  
  • Your Voice – January 2022: An online survey completed by 5,630 CFIB members between January 18-27, 2022. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of ±1.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About CFIB 
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 members (4,300 in Saskatchewan) 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
 

March 9, 2022

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