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CFIB applauds reopening of Canada’s economy

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COVID-19 Economy

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is expressing support for the reopening of Canada’s economic activity that began on Mary 4., but also calls for caution as employees return to work.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is expressing support for the reopening of Canada’s economic activity that began on Mary 4.

“CFIB welcomes the careful, phased approach to the reopening of the economy which began…in several provinces,” CFIB president Dan Kelly said in a May 4 statement. “For background, 80% of small firms are closed (fully or partially). Only 20% are fully open. Alarmingly, over 40% report that they may permanently close if the current restrictions remain in place until the end of May (four weeks from now).”

“So it is good news that some businesses in some provinces will be permitted to serve customers once again starting today. Quebec and Manitoba appear to be making the biggest moves, including allowing many retailers to resume in-store operations (outside of Montreal). Small firms feel they can play a positive role in continuing to flatten the curve. It doesn’t make sense that we force everyone to line up at Costco and Walmart to buy a t-shirt or frying pan just because they also sell groceries.”


Small, independent businesses are more naturally able to adjust to the need for ongoing physical distancing, Kelly continued, given they serve far fewer customers than the big box stores. “We’ve learned a lot in the past six weeks,” he said. “B.C.’s rules have been far more sensible through the entire pandemic, allowing many small firms (including retailers) to remain open with significant adjustments and protections. Learning from the grocery model of limiting the number of customers in-store, disinfecting between customers, barriers at checkouts where needed, small firms can be part of the solution if given the opportunity.”

But CFIB is still warning of a “messy recovery” ahead. “Employees may be nervous to return to work or prefer to remain on the Canada Emergency Response Benefit,” Kelly said. “Protective equipment may be difficult to find. Employers may not be sure what the rules of the game are. My advice for governments, business owners, employees and customers: let’s be patient, careful and respect each other’s perspectives. We are in new territory – not everything will be clear or in place as it should. And we need to listen to the advice of medical officers. An uptick in COVID-19 cases or a handful of ‘yahoos’ may prompt a quick end to the phased reopening.”

CFIB’s Business Helpline is available to all Canadian independent business owners, members and non-members alike, to offer advice and the latest on the reopening rules. Click on this link for more information.


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