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Small businesses want rapid testing, not lockdowns in order to fight a third wave

Toronto, April 1, 2021 — The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is calling on provincial governments across Canada for lockdown alternatives and increased financial support for small businesses as provinces announce or consider a third round of closures across the country.

“It is unconscionable that over a year into the pandemic governments continue to rely almost exclusively on blanket lockdowns,” said CFIB President Dan Kelly. “The first two shutdowns were devastating with one in six businesses considering permanent closure, for an estimated 181,000 permanent small business closures expected across the country. A third round will only ensure that number grows higher. CFIB urges governments to now make use of the other tools at their disposal, including making widespread use of the millions of rapid tests sitting in warehouses across the country, as well as renewed contact tracing efforts and expedited vaccine rollouts as alternatives to closing battered small businesses.”

A recent CFIB survey found that two thirds of small businesses would consider using COVID-19 rapid tests to remain open.

“Small businesses are tired of being a scapegoat for governments’ lack of planning or foresight,” said Kelly. “Too often businesses are closed to send a message to the public to stay home while there is scant evidence that shopping at a local store, getting a haircut or having dinner with the family is a real danger to public health. CFIB urges all provinces to reject Ontario’s bizarre approach of shuttering small retailers while keeping big box stores open.”

It is also deeply concerning that governments across the country have closed their grant applications this week as new lockdowns loom. On average, Canadian small businesses have taken on $170,000 in COVID-19-related debt. Three quarters report that it will take more than a year to pay off.

“More than 70 per cent of small businesses across Canada report that government supports are essential to their survival,” added Kelly. “Lockdowns do not stop bills from coming in. We urge governments to extend their application deadlines, broaden eligibility and increase payments to recognize the impact new and prolonged lockdowns and restrictions are having on local businesses.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Wissal El Alaoui, CFIB
514-817-0228
[email protected]

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 95,000 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 cfib.ca.

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