Two Years of COVID-19 for Canada's Small Businesses

As small businesses mark their second anniversary of COVID-19, sales remain low, debt remains high, and many are considering permanent closure.

Two years into the pandemic, small businesses are a long way from recovery. While it is good news that COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted across Canada, the economic damage done by the pandemic has been massive and is leaving many in a precarious position. Until more businesses can get back to making normal sales, their capacity to face new costs, repay debt and, in many cases, simply keep their business running, remains significantly reduced.

As we enter the recovery phase, governments need to hold off on any cost increases to businesses, given the latest data shows that nationally:

  • Only 35% of businesses have returned to normal sales
  • Two in three (67%) report taking on pandemic-related debt, at an average of $158,128 per business
  • One in seven (14%) are actively considering bankruptcy or permanently winding down their business

This snapshot provides an overview of:

  1. Businesses making normal sales
  2. Average pandemic-related business debt taken on, and
  3. Businesses considering bankruptcy or winding down, nationally, by province and by sector.

Related Documents

Release Date Report Download
March 2022 Two Years of COVID-19 for Canada's Small Businesses, Research Snapshot PDF (1.4 MB)
March 2021 Small businesses mark the one-year anniversary of COVID lockdowns with delayed retirements, debt and digital leaps PDF (1.5 MB)
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