Small Businesses in Canada Hit Hard: The Big Financial Toll of Labour Shortages

Labour shortages have been an ongoing challenge for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for several years, adding to the many other difficulties they face. Indeed, 53% of Canadian small business owners have reported that labour shortages are hindering the growth of their business (Figure 1). Despite the declining trend, labour shortages are still exceeding the historical average of 50% by a small margin.

Most SMEs are feeling the effects of labour shortages across different aspects of their operations. In a recent report on the topic, CFIB highlighted the number of hours worked by small business owners, particularly those who had to compensate for labour shortages by working more hours.

In 2022, CFIB also published a report that estimates the business opportunities Quebec SMEs lost due to labour shortages. This study extends the same analysis to the national level, as part of CFIB’s ongoing commitment to highlight labour shortages and the importance of taking action to mitigate their various impacts, now and in the longer term.