With North America’s biggest shopping season right around the corner and COVID-19 cases on the rise, small business owners all across Ontario are left with the same question: what’s gonna happen to us?
The CFIB (Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses) estimates that 225, 000 businesses all across Canada could shut down due to the restrictions put in place to fight against the ongoing pandemic. Independent retailers, however, argue that many of these restrictions are favoring big box stores such as Walmart and Costco, while leaving smaller companies in the dust.
Chris Korwin Kuczynski, former deputy mayor of Toronto, said the following regarding the provincial government’s lockdown policies: “There is a clear mistake…because some of the small businesses could continue to operate with staggered people coming in just like a Walmart does or a grocery store…Why do they all get the business and then the small little people don’t get the business?”
Last week, the CFIB managed to garner 2,500 signatures for a petition urging the federal government to review its pandemic policies and let small businesses remain open (with sensible restrictions). Although a definite course of action has yet to be taken, business owners will most likely continue to plead with officials in hopes of being allowed to operate during the holiday rush. After all, according to the PwC’s 2019 Canadian Holiday Outlook, the average Canadian spent approximately $1,593 during last year’s Christmas season, so losing out on the ability to profit during such a critical time may be the coup de grâce for many business owners.
Although small businesses understand that the ongoing pandemic will, unquestionably, affect profits, what they don’t understand is, as CFIB president Dan Kelly states, “If it is dangerous to buy a book at an independent bookseller, why isn’t it dangerous at Costco?”