With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remaining in office following the federal election on September 20, employees are questioning whether he will prioritize small business recovery this term.
The Liberals were elected in 158 ridings, falling short of the 170 seats needed for a majority government.
With the election costing about $600 million, small business employee Rebecca Rodrigues is questioning why Trudeau called a rapid election.
“To see all that money wasted just for the government to remain the same makes no sense to me. Trudeau promised a lot during this election campaign for small businesses so now is the time to see whether he’ll fulfill his promises. If he doesn’t its going to effect people like me,” Rodrigues said.
A study released by Statistics Canada earlier this month outlined the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses in Canada in the third quarter on 2021.
During the pandemic, many small businesses relied on debt financing to survive and after months of pandemic impacts, may are unable to take on more debt.
The study reported that 20.5 per cent of businesses with one to 19 employees, 8.6 per cent of businesses with 20 to 99 employees and 7.5 per cent of businesses with 100 or more employees did not have the ability to take on more debt.
“Honestly those numbers don’t surprise me. At my work there’s around 12 of us and I’ve seen first hand my bosses financially struggling to keep businesses going. Unfortunately you can’t just continue borrowing money to survive or else you’ll be in a painful amount of debt,” Rodrigues said.
The study showed 41.1 per cent of businesses with one to 19 employees cited a lack of confidence or uncertainty in future sales as the reason they couldn’t take on more debt.
In August the Ontario unemployment rate was 7.1 per cent, falling from 7.5 per cent in July.
Data from Statistics Canada showed that in 2020 small businesses made up 98 per cent of employer businesses in Canada that employ 9.7 million Canadians.
“Without small businesses Canada would be struggling and we need to see some sort of reciprocation from the Liberals. I’ll be watching the news to see whether Trudeau follows through with the proposed refundable tax credit. Businesses like mine need it,” Rodrigues said.