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One-quarter of small businesses cannot pay April leases or mortgages

By The IJ Staff | March 31 2020 10:55AM

Photo: Freepik

A new survey taken this past weekend shows that one-quarter of small businesses are not able to pay April's commercial lease or mortgage payments as a result of COVID-19 disruptions, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Hospitality businesses have been particularly hard hit with 44% saying they cannot meet their rent obligations. Other sectors include arts, recreation & information (40%) and personal services (32%).

Business owners worried

"Last week brought good news for many with respect to an increased wage subsidy but the next big bill looming for many is commercial rent," said Laura Jones, CFIB's executive vice-president. "Business owners—both leasers and landlords—are worried as everyone has bills to pay."

Key survey results include:  

  • Only one in five businesses now report being fully open (down from one in three last week);

  • 86% of small businesses believe government should make emergency money available to businesses that have been hard hit by COVID-19 to cover their fixed costs;

  • 42% of business owners are worried about having to close their business permanently.

CFIB asks for emergency funds

CFIB is calling for provincial governments to provide commercial property tax relief and create a hardship fund with additional emergency funds for businesses with major revenue losses. It is also asking Ottawa to ensure it has emergency funds available to businesses hardest hit and most at risk of closing permanently.

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