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Apr 25, 2023

Labour Shortages Impacting Small Business Owners

The average small business owner works 54 hours a week, the equivalent of an eight-day work week for most salaried workers. Those who work more hours because of labour shortages clock in even more hours – about 59 hours a week, 20 of which are spent compensating for staffing challenges, says a report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This means small business owners spend 34 per cent of their 59-hour workweek making up for lack of employees. “This is a lot of time that business owners could spend on other priorities such as growing their business or looking into government programs. But the impacts can also be felt outside of work. Many owners who work more hours don't have time for family and friends, and it can affect their mental health and wellbeing,” says Laure-Anna Bomal, CFIB economist and co-author of the report. As well, the number of small businesses impacted by labour shortages has increased from 55 per cent in November 2021 to 59 per cent in September 2022. All provinces report that more than half of businesses are impacted, with Quebec (66 per cent), Saskatchewan (62 per cent), and Manitoba (62 per cent) being the most affected by staffing challenges. While the labour shortage impacts the number of work hours, it also causes small businesses to turn down sales and contracts and decrease service offerings, and can affect employee morale. “There isn't one-size-fits-all solution, but governments can help by implementing targeted measures such as reducing the tax burden that will allow them to invest in employee's compensation, training, and automation. Additionally, streamlining immigration processes is key to finding the talent that small businesses can't find right now. Finally, red tape reduction is a strategic way for governments to act to give back time to our entrepreneurs,” says François Vincent, CFIB's vice-president.

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