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Two-thirds of Canadian business owners negatively impacted by COVID-19: CIBC poll

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Economy Market Forecast COVID-19

But the majority (75%) of business owners remain optimistic they will rebound once the pandemic subsides, the poll also found.

Two-thirds (68%) of Canadian business owners continue to feel the negative impacts of COVID-19, a new study from CIBC finds, with more than half (57%) believing businesses in their area are in crisis mode and 43% believing businesses are in recovery mode.

According to the study, top concerns are a reduced demand for their products and services (37%) and worries about the overall viability of operations (23%). Despite this, the majority (75%) of business owners remain optimistic they will rebound once the pandemic subsides.

COVID-19 continues to test business owners but optimism remains for post-pandemic times: CIBC Poll (CNW Group/CIBC)

“During these challenging times, Canadian business owners have shown incredible resilience by staying focused on fundamentals and being very nimble and creative,” said Laura Dottori-Attanasio, group head, personal and business banking, CIBC, in a prepared statement. “With so many feeling immediate pressures on revenues, we encourage owners to get advice about their overall financial situation including cash flow management and help managing debt levels.”

Business owners have employed several strategies to continue operating, CIBC noted: a third (30%) have increased their virtual presence while a further 16% pivoted their business to operate completely online.


To support cash flow, 56% have used at least one government program this year, and to limit costs, 35% are reducing operating expenses while 28% have cut employee hours. Half (52%) say they are counting on government support to survive.

Close to a third (29%) expect it will take between a year or two for things to get back to normal, with the majority (81%) agreeing the uncertainty of the current environment remains the hardest aspect to manage.

Other findings of the study include 72% of business owners say their present stress level is much higher than it was prior to the pandemic; 57% are looking to build the digital capabilities of their business; and 45% are looking to reduce their debt levels, while 41% are seeking more credit to help with operating capital and 40% are seeking advice to better manage cash flow.


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