Quebec needs to step up and help small businesses post-confinement: CFIB

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is applauding the deconfinement of therapeutic and personal and aesthetic care businesses outside the Montreal Metropolitan Community (CMM) and the MRC de Joliette, starting Monday, after 70 days without the possibility of welcoming their customers.

In a statement released on Sunday, the CFIB notes that this reopening is not without costs, as there are many expenses associated with implementing health measures.

According to a CFIB survey conducted online with 819 small and medium-sized businesses in Quebec, from May 22 to 25, three in five entrepreneurs (60 per cent) say they fear that personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, visors, gowns, gloves, disinfectants and sterilizers, ends up costing them dearly, in addition to the losses linked to more than two months of closure.

“Almost two out of five Quebec SMEs (37 per cent) are late in paying their bills. For small businesses that are already vulnerable, there is even more pressure when the funds are empty,” reads a news release from CFIB vice president in Quebec Francois Vincent.

“We were expecting high fees, but some cases make you dizzy! Whether it's a hair salon, dental office or massage therapy, the costs can run into the thousands of dollars. One entrepreneur even told us that his expenses were over $30,000,” said Vincent.

The CFIB added that there are fixed costs, such as Plexiglas or installing a washing station, but there are also recurring costs, such as masks or disinfectants for business owners. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business believes that all of these additional costs should not rest solely on the shoulders of SMEs.

 “We are asking the Quebec government to provide direct financial assistance to businesses. It could offer a direct subsidy as Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nova Scotia have done, or create a Workspace Adjustment Assistance Fund for COVID-19 like Prince Edward Island,” said Vincent.

The CFIB is a group of SMEs with 110,000 members in all industries and all regions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2020.

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