Canadian health sector businesses struggling to survive

88 per cent are concerned PPE will become a significant expense for their business while almost half (49 per cent) are worried about accessing PPE

Most Canadian small businesses in the health sector are worried about their financial wellbeing and are expressing concerns about accessing PPE (personal protective equipment), according to new research from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Small businesses in the health services sector are struggling with the costs to follow hospital grade operational guidelines without the supports available to the public health system,” said Jordi Morgan, CFIB vice-president, Atlantic, in a news release. “Most worrisome is the number of business owners concerned about costs and accessing PPE is notably higher than the rate for other sectors. Governments need to ensure these businesses have the supports they need to survive and continue providing necessary health treatments to patients and clients.”

“It’s clear from the survey results, health care small business owners care deeply about their patients and are worried their patients’ health has worsened during the shutdown,” said Annie Dormuth, CFIB’s Alberta provincial affairs director. “They also want to ensure their patients receive important treatment in a safe and comfortable environment. That is why so many of these business owners are concerned about accessing PPE. They need PPE to keep their patients and staff safe and their doors open.

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CFIB surveyed businesses in the health sector and found:

  • 88 per cent are concerned PPE will become a significant expense for their business while almost half (49 per cent) are worried about accessing PPE;
  • 75 per cent are worried the “new normal” is not financially viable for their business, while a further 16 per cent are considering bankruptcy;
  • 54 per cent of private-sector health professionals say the “new normal” will result in higher prices for their patients because of reduced capacity and additional requirements; and
  • Only 35 per cent are fully open, while half remain partially closed.

The CFIB is calling on governments to:

  1. Allow access to PPE through provincial government supply chains to ensure supply;
  2. Not increase taxes, especially on payroll;
  3. Extend the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program to September and significantly lower the revenue reduction requirement;
  4. Expand the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan to $60,000 and increase the forgivable portion to 50 per cent; and
  5. Release the revised eligibility rules for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for July and August. Provide access to more firms through a lower and graduated revenue reduction test.

 

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