Before the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses employed 7.7 million Canadians, nearly three-quarters of all employed Canadians.
After more than a year of heavy government restrictions and lockdowns, 740,800 small-business jobs were lost.
The province of Prince Edward Island endured the worst loss of small business jobs, closely followed by British Columbia, Alberta, Québec, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario and others.
Throughout the country, provincial governments have used heavy restrictions in an attempt to control the COVID-19 virus, despite restrictions showing little to no significant impact on contagion numbers and COVID deaths.
In the province of Quebec, the Legault government shut down restaurants for two extended periods of time in 2020. In 2021, the government restored normal capacity for restaurants only to force them to reduce capacity once again in December as cases increased.
These on-and-off closures and restrictions have been costly for businesses throughout Canada. While small businesses face an inflationary environment, they are also dealing with a challenging labour shortage and uncertainty from their governments with COVID measures.
Other jurisdictions such as Sweden and some U.S. states have decided to limit COVID restrictions and adopt a science-based approach, trusting citizens to make the best decisions for themselves and their community.
Canada’s public debt soared to unprecedented levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to the Trudeau government’s interventionist approach. As small businesses jobs are suffering steep losses, Canada’s economic future remains gloomy.