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We could lose 18% of Burnaby businesses due to COVID:19

A new report lists business at risk of closure
Restaurants have been hit hard by COVID-19. Getty Images

Nearly 20% of Burnaby businesses are “at risk” of closing due to COVID-19.

That’s the dire estimation by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which released the results of its latest survey of businesses across the country.

The CFIB made an estimation of businesses in the province that are at risk of closing, with a range of as low as 10,200 and as high as 30,000 (between 6 and 18%). 

Furthermore, job losses could be as low as 123,500 or as high as 357,900 (between 7 and 21%), said the CFIB. Variables like pace of economic recovery, access to support and financial assistance, and government policies could impact real outcomes. 

"While B.C. businesses have not seen the same intense lockdowns that other provinces have recently, recovery progress is stalling," said Muriel Protzer, CFIB’s Senior Policy Analyst for B.C. "Our collective decision to shop local whenever possible can make a difference."

One in six (181,000) Canadian small business owners are seriously contemplating permanently closing, putting more than 2.4 million jobs at risk (20 per cent of private sector jobs), said the CFIB in an update to its earlier estimate on business closures this past summer. This latest estimate is on top of the 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020. In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic.

“Although there is still time for business owners to reverse course if conditions improve, it is alarming to see an increasing number considering permanent closure, compared to our first estimate last summer. We are not headed in the right direction and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision. The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose and the harder it will be for the economy to recover,” said Simon Gaudreault, Senior Director of National Research at CFIB. 

The latest data on CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard shows business recovery in B.C. has remained relatively unchanged since November:

  • 64 per cent of BC businesses are fully open 
  • 39 per cent of BC businesses are at usual or greater staffing capacity 
  • 30 per cent of BC businesses are making normal or better revenues

Small business recovery in BC has stayed relatively flat since November, while other provinces such as those with greater lockdown restrictions have taken a significant step back on their paths to recovery.