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Small businesses urge the government to put an end to the Port of Montreal strike before it further hurts an already fragile economy

Winnipeg, August 20, 2020 – Two weeks in, the Port of Montreal strike is having a negative impact on a large number of small businesses that are already struggling to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). Nationally, one in five small business owners say the strike will hurt their company, but this number rises to 37 per cent within Quebec.

“COVID-19 has hit small businesses very hard and they are now faced with yet another blow. With no end in sight, the Port of Montreal strike is hampering the restart of their business activities at a critical time, particularly in Quebec and Ontario. We are hearing about blocked goods, delivery delays, additional costs, production slow-downs, dissatisfied customers, employees who are working fewer hours. It’s time for the government to get involved and end the dispute. The longer it continues, the more it will hurt the Canadian economy,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB.

Businesses in the wholesale (39 per cent), manufacturing (28 per cent), retail (28 per cent) and agriculture (26 per cent) sectors are the hardest hit by the strike. 

Settling the dispute is a priority for SMEs and the economy
According to the data collected, almost half of Canadian small business owners (46 per cent) are calling on the federal government to prioritize putting an end to the Port of Montreal strike as soon as possible, and this number is even higher in the regions most affected by the dispute. In Quebec, 70 per cent of small businesses are asking Ottawa to take the lead in resolving the conflict, which continues to cripple port operations. 

“The Port of Montreal is a critical part of Canada’s infrastructure not only for many SMEs but also for the economy of Eastern Canada. As we have said, and as we will continue to say, the federal government needs to use all the resources at its disposal to bring an end to this dispute as soon as possible. The time to act is now,” added Pohlmann. 

To arrange an interview with Jonathan Alward, CFIB’s director, prairie region, please call 431-998-4498 or email [email protected]. You can also follow CFIB Manitoba on Twitter @cfibMB.

For media enquiries or interviews with Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs, please contact Wissal El Alaoui, Media Relations Specialist, at 647-464-2814 or email [email protected]

About the data
These are preliminary results from the Your Business and COVID-19 – Survey #19, a new CFIB online survey that started on August 13, 2020, that has been completed by 5,119 CFIB members so far. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 1.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

In Quebec, 816 CFIB members responded to the survey so far. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

About CFIB
CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 members (4,800 in Manitoba) across every sector 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

August 20, 2020

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