Ottawa, ON — Canadian small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) are feeling the effects of the labour shortage, with over $38 billion in revenues lost last year.
According to the report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), small businesses in the construction industry saw the most significant loss of business opportunities, over $9.6 billion in the last year.
Fifty-two per cent of construction businesses turned down sales or contracts in the past year; while 38 per cent of construction businesses postponed the timing of existing contracts.
Construction companies in Quebec stood out, with 33 per cent of small businesses turning down contracts, followed by small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) in Manitoba (28 per cent) and British Columbia (28 per cent).
In total, the report highlighted how out of the more than five thousand businesses that answered, 53 per cent of Canadian small business owners reported that labour shortages are hindering the growth of their business.
One of the significant impacts of the labour shortage was that 53 per cent of business owners had to work extra hours. Additionally, 38 per cent responded that their staff have had to work more due to the shortages.
In total, approximately 27 per cent of all SMEs respondents said that they have had to turn down sales or contracts, while 17 per cent have had to postpone the timing of existing contracts.
Breaking down barriers
To address the labour shortages, CFIB created a whitepaper titled “ The policy proposals break down the labour force into three age groups — youth (ages 15-24), core (ages 24-64), and older workers (over 65+).
For the youth sector, CFIB suggests increasing the number of high school credits for work-integrated learning, expanding vocational education and training (VET), especially apprenticeships, and making it more accessible for high school students and altering the VET perception in Canada.
Core-age worker suggestions include designing government programs in a way that doesn’t create disincentives to work, increasing access to housing closer to their workplace, increasing access to childcare services outside the traditional work shift, and facilitating labour mobility across provincial boundaries.
For older workers, the report suggests basing the age credit amount solely on age, allowing for unlimited actuarial adjustment for public pensions with no age limit, rebasing the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) basic exemption amounts, and offering a career extension tax credit and foster retraining.