MONTREAL -- Owners of small- and medium-sized businesses are happy with federal assistance programs that have arisen from the COVID-19 crisis, such as the wage subsidy program, but much remains to be done to alleviate their financial burdens, according to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The survey illustrates concerns of small businesses in terms of the economic repercussions of the crisis – 32 per cent of those who have closed their doors are unsure if they will ever be able to reopen. So far, 46 per cent of small- and medium-sized businesses have partially closed shop, and 31 per cent have closed completely. 

The survey, which began last Friday, found the average cost of the COVID-19 crisis on small businesses was $160,000.

Other data suggests that 68 per cent of small businesses believe the wage subsidy program will help them, but they say details surrounding it are still vague. Additionally, 71 per cent say that the deferral of the GST/HST payment is beneficial, while 53 per cent think positively of the new Canada Emergency Business Account. 

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is asking provincial governments to offer more property tax relief as well as direct assistance with rent and mortgage payments. It also encourages the federal government to delay the planned increase in carbon taxes. 

The online survey has collected 9,678 responses from small and medium business leaders from across Canada so far. For comparison, for a probability sample with an equal number of respondents, the margin of error would be plus or minus 1 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

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