CFIB Warns 2.4 Million Jobs At Risk As COVID-19 Hits Small Businesses

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says that one in six (about 181,000) Canadian small business owners is now planning to close permanently.

CFIB says that, without more stimulus from the federal government, the jobs picture could be more dire. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members conducted between January 12 and 16, comes after 58,000 small businesses closed across Canada in 2020.

Based on the organization's updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people (20% of private sector jobs) could be lost if current trends hold.

In total, one in five businesses is at risk of permanently closing by the end of the pandemic, the organization said. That's an increase from one in seven, or 158,000 businesses, the CFIB said were at risk of disappearing as a result of the pandemic in a study last July.

Only 47% of Canadian small businesses are now fully open, down from 62% at the end of November. But those numbers fall even further in provinces that have lockdown restrictions. In Ontario, for example, only 37% of businesses are fully open right now.