The Canadian workforce has been heavily impacted by government lockdowns and the full extent of the damage caused by public health measures is not yet known.
As first reported by Blacklock’s Reporter, a Department of Industry report revealed that lockdowns have cost at least 740,800 jobs in small businesses – a 9% decline compared to the previous year.
Prior to the pandemic, small business employees comprised approximately 68% of the Canadian workforce – 7.7 million employees.
According to Key Small Business Statistics 2021, lockdowns had the largest impact on Prince Edward Island as the province lost 13% of small business jobs. Public health measures had an impact on all provinces: British Columbia (12%), Alberta (11%), Québec (9%), Saskatchewan (8%), Newfoundland and Labrador (8%), Ontario (7%), Nova Scotia (7%), Manitoba (6%), New Brunswick (4%).
The government report warns that the damage of lockdowns is so severe that it will take time to analyze the full extent of the jobs lost.
“How many businesses appear and disappear each year? In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic likely impacted business entries and exits,” said the report.
“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.”
Small business owners have had to take on massive amounts of debt in order to stay afloat during the pandemic.
According to a report by The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) in September, business owners have had to rack up $138 billion in debt.
“Actual repayment of this debt will be the next big obstacle small businesses will face. Many are still seeing a slow pickup in revenues, capacity restrictions and uncertainty heading into the fall and winter,” said CFIB Senior Vice-President Corinne Pohlmann.