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Half of Canadian businesses may close doors in 2021

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), seven in 10 small business owners have collectively taken $135.1 billion in debt due to COVID-19.

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The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has published a survey showing half of small businesses in the country may close in 2021 due to financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With 51.3 per cent of businesses uncertain how long they could continue to operate at their current level of revenue and expenditures, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of Policy, Dr. Trevin Stratton, said “businesses’ coping ability to weather the pandemic is quickly dwindling.”

Businesses of all sizes widely feel the economic anxiety.

  • 52.2 per cent for 1-4 employees; 
  • 50.9 per cent for 5-19 employees; 
  • 49.3 per cent for 20-99 employees; 
  • 44.2% for 100 or more employees.

Only 38.4 per cent of businesses expect to be fully operational for 12 months or longer at current revenue levels.

Forty per cent are unable to take on more debt amidst a growing burden on small businesses, with many at their debt limit.

  • 41.8 per cent of businesses with 1-4 and 5-19 employees cannot take on more debt; 
  • 29.0 per cent for 20-99 employees; 
  • 17.1 per cent for 100 or more employees.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), seven in 10 small business owners have collectively taken $135.1 billion in debt due to COVID-19. 

The average small business owes approximately $170,000.

“Over the last six months, the average debt taken on by small businesses to deal with COVID-19 has grown significantly,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice-President at CFIB. 

“While many businesses had previously reopened and were attempting to regain lost sales, the second wave and the restrictions that came with it are putting a massive wrench in an already slow recovery for small businesses.” 

After adjusting the data to reflect the entire economy, CFIB estimates the total debt taken on by Canadian small businesses resulting from COVID-19 as of early February is $135.1 billion, a significant increase since CFIB’s previous estimate of $117 billion in July 2020. 

Of businesses that have taken on debt, three quarters (76 per cent) say it will take them over a year to repay, with 11 per cent of this group expressing concern that they may not be able to repay their COVID-19 related debt at all. 

Stratton said the numbers provide the most recent snapshot of our business community’s health.

“They are sending a very clear message – the light at the end of this pandemic tunnel is still a long way off for most Canadian businesses,” he said.

Nearly half (46.4 per cent) of businesses do not know how long they can continue to operate at current levels before considering staff layoffs.

Close to one-third (29.6 per cent) of businesses in accommodation and food services expect staff reduction over the next three months.

“Following 2020’s GDP numbers released earlier this week, [the recent] CSBC data offers the first glimpse of what Canada’s businesses and our economy are facing in the first quarter of 2021,” said Stratton.

These numbers point to a compounding effect of previous lockdowns. With each new wave, the third round of lockdowns could be the breaking point for many already stretched thin financially, experts say.

“Looking forward, Canada must find new answers to manage the pandemic until vaccination rates increase. We cannot afford to take the same approach we’ve seen used over the past year. We need a viable reopening plan that takes a holistic approach focusing on tools like rapid-testing and robust contact tracing.

“The survival of our businesses depends on it.”

Four in 10 businesses say it will be at least a year from now, if not more, until they expect to see average profits.

Dhaliwal is the Western Standard’s Edmonton reporter.

News

Trudeau’s beach denier demoted

Trudeau was photographed twice on a beach in Tofino after deciding to skip the first day of a holiday he created — the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

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The Justin Trudeau spokesman who told reporters the prime minister “wasn’t on a beach” when he was, has been demoted, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Trudeau was photographed twice on a beach in Tofino after deciding to skip the first day of a holiday he created — the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

Trudeau had promised to “set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government.”

Alex Wellstead will be “taking on new challenges” as press secretary to the industry minister, the Prime Minister’s Office said yesterday.  

Wellstead. Courtesy Twitter

Wellstead in a statement called it “a very difficult decision to make.” He had worked as Trudeau’s official spokesman for 20 months.

Wellstead on September 30 issued misleading statements to conceal the fact Trudeau spent the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at a beach resort in Tofino, B.C.

“He wasn’t on a beach,” Wellstead told The Canadian Press at the time. Global News and the weekly Chilliwack Progress photographed Trudeau strolling on the beach and enjoying a glass of beer on a beachfront patio.

The Prime Minister’s Office claimed Trudeau was in private meetings in Ottawa. Staff flew an Indian Residential School “survivors’ flag” and issued a solemn statement in Trudeau’s name.

“We remember the children who never made it home,” it said.

Wellstead did not explain his conduct.

“You as a communicator need to understand everything,” Wellstead said in a March 30 interview with public relations students at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.

The prime minister in 2015 Ministerial Mandate letters said officials must be truthful and transparent.

“Members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who by asking necessary questions contribute in an important way to the democratic process,” wrote Trudeau.

“Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.

“We have committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves.

“Government and its information should be open by default. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians.

“It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect. They expect us to be honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.”

Trudeau on October 6 apologized for the Tofino holiday.

“Traveling on September 30 was a mistake and I regret it,” the prime minister told reporters.

“What made you decide to take a personal trip on a day your government set aside to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools?” asked a reporter.

“Like I said, it was a mistake,” replied Trudeau.

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News

Feds threaten regulated businesses with COVID fines

The labour department in a statement said it would rewrite the Canada Labour Code to mandate vaccination for some 955,000 private sector employees in federally regulated sectors like air transportation, banking, broadcasting, grain milling, marine shipping, railways and interprovincial trucking.

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If they don’t mandate vaccination of workers, the Labour department is threatening to levy cash fines against airports, banks, radio stations and other federally-regulated employers, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

But the Liberals stopped short of repeating an earlier threat to strip workers of legal rights to challenge vaccine orders.

“It is time to move on,” said Government House Leader Mark Holland.

“Get vaccinated. That’s what Canadians expect to have happen.

“I think the country understands we have now 90% of Canadians who have had their first injection, over 86% with their second. All workplaces across the country” should promote vaccinations, he added.

The labour department in a statement said it would rewrite the Canada Labour Code to mandate vaccination for some 955,000 private sector employees in federally regulated sectors like air transportation, banking, broadcasting, grain milling, marine shipping, railways and interprovincial trucking.

First Nations businesses will be exempt.

“Employers who do not comply with their obligations under the Canada Labour Code may be subject to compliance and enforcement measures including administrative monetary penalties,” the notice said.

“The government will consult with key stakeholders, including representatives of small and medium-sized employers, as it works expeditiously to finalize the new regulations which would come into force in early 2022. The government will also develop resources to help federally regulated workplaces implement the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.”

The notice made no reference to a liability shield proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign. Trudeau on September 1 said a re-elected Liberal cabinet would shield employers from any legal challenge of vaccination orders.

“We’ll stand firm on our commitment,” said Trudeau, adding: “We’ll protect businesses that mandate vaccinations from unjustified lawsuits.”

Canadians who declined a COVID-19 shot were “more than just wrong, because everyone’s entitled to their opinion, they are putting at risk their own kids and they’re putting at risk our kids as well,” said Trudeau.

“What about my choice to keep my kids safe? What about our choices to make sure we’re getting through this pandemic as quickly as we can?”

The Liberal Party in its September 1 campaign platform stated: “A re-elected Liberal government will table legislation to ensure every business and organization that decides to require proof of vaccination from employees and customers can do so without fear of a legal challenge.”

Compulsory vaccination breaches federal law, according to a May 19 statement by Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien and 1996 National Immunization Report by the Department of Health.

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News

Firearms lobby group shoots down Liberal move to decriminalize gun laws

The Liberal government is moving again to eliminate the mandatory minimum prison (MMPs) times handed to people convicted of some gun crimes.

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The Liberal’s move to decriminalize numerous firearms laws show they are only interested in punishing legal gun owners, says the executive director of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association.

“It must seem obvious to anyone that the Liberal’s real agenda is to persecute and punish lawful firearms owners — by definition, the people that don’t break the law. Every time a new Liberal gun control measure is announced, it is directed at the law-abiding while the punishments for real criminals are lessened,” Tony Bernardo told the Western Standard.

The Liberal government is moving again to eliminate the mandatory minimum prison (MMPs) times handed to people convicted of some gun crimes.

A proposed Liberal bill would affect 14 Criminal Code sections and six drug-related offences.

The gun offences that would see MMPs dropped include possessing a restricted firearm with ammunition, weapons trafficking, discharging a firearm while committing an offence, reckless discharge of a firearm, and extortion and robbery with a firearm.

It follows a similar bill the party introduced in February that died without being passed when the election was called in August.

It would remove MMPs from 13 firearms offences and one for a tobacco offence.

MMPs would remain for murder, treason, impaired driving and sexual offences, as well as a some firearms offences.

“The Liberal’s C-5 has nothing to do with helping marginalized Canadians and everything to do with protecting the predators of our society,” said Bernardo.

“Yet, they are willing to spend billions to take competition rifles from sportspersons under the guise of making us safer. Where are the promised protections to the urban Canadians that have their neighbourhoods ravaged every week by drugs, gangs, and violence?

“Why has this government forsaken the people in rural areas that have their hard-earned property stolen with impunity? Where are the safe streets these political carpetbaggers sell every election? Where is the outrage from Canadians as the Liberals lie their way through another mandate?”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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