Small businesses have taken a hit to the chin because of COVID lockdowns, with a loss of more than 740,000 jobs, according to the Department of Industry.
The extent of the damages and losses will take time to be fully known, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Private sector employment decreased in all the provinces. Among small business, employment decreased in all provinces,” said a department report Key Small Business Statistics 2021 .
Figures showed small operators went into the pandemic with a total payroll of 7.7 million employees, about 68 percent of the Canadian workforce.
Prince Edward Island was hit the hardest with small business job losses at 13%, followed by British Columbia at 12%, Alberta at 11%, Québec at 9%, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland & Labrador at 8%, Ontario and Nova Scotia at 7%, Manitoba at 6% and New Brunswick at 4%.
“How many businesses appear and disappear each year? In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic likely impacted business entries and exits. However since the most recently available data on business creation and destruction are for the year 2018 these impacts are beyond the scope of this report,” said Statistics.
Canada went into the pandemic with 1,198,632 small businesses.
“Our research shows one in seven businesses will fail before the end of the pandemic,” Dan Kelly, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said at the 2020 hearings of the Senate national finance committee.
“In my view there are hundreds of thousands of zombie businesses, businesses that are essentially dead but haven’t finalized the closure process altogether.
“We are seeing greater numbers of business failures that actually haven’t been reported. We’re only at the tip of the iceberg because actual bankruptcies have been slowed also by Covid-19.”
The Federation said in August that small businesses who managed to survive have $139 billion in debts.
This figure is based on a questionnaires of 4,950 small businesses nationwide.