Rising prices, supply chain disruptions top small-business concerns

CFIB calls on government to lift mandate on unvaccinated truck drivers entering Canada

Rising prices, supply chain disruptions top small-business concerns

The federal government must rethink its policy prohibiting unvaccinated truck drivers from entering Canada before supply shortages and pricing rises push even more firms to the edge, according to Canada’s national association of small-business owners.

On January 12, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) wrote to the Ministers of Transportation, Health, and Public Safety, calling on them to repeal the vaccine mandate.

"Small businesses were already facing a major supply chain crunch and cost increases on everything from fuel to building materials. This border policy threatens to exacerbate those issues at a time when small businesses can't handle any additional costs or uncertainty," CFIB president Dan Kelly said in a statement.

Concerns about supply chains and inflation top of the list of business concerns for 2022. According to CFIB's most recent survey, the most pressing problems affecting businesses moving into the new year are rising pricing (81%) and supply chain challenges (70%).

Following a strike at the Port of Montreal and congestion at the Port of Vancouver, floods that blocked off roads and railways from British Columbia in November, and additional delays throughout 2021, this latest setback puts even more burden on an already stressed system.

Moreover, in a report issued in December, CFIB said the transportation industry has been one of the most impacted by labour shortages, with 68 percent of businesses in the sector unable to recruit adequate workers. According to CFIB's mid-January Business Barometer, small firms expect historically high price hikes of 4.4 percent over the following 12 months.

That level of price increase is likely to harm small businesses' capacity to compete at a time when many are still battling to return to regular sales.

According to the latest data from the CFIB's Small Business Recovery Dashboard, just 30% of businesses are making normal sales (down from 36% in November), 42% are fully staffed (down from 45% in November), and 65% are completely open (down from 78 per cent in November).

"We're already seeing major delays for necessary supplies,” Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB, said. “Two years into the pandemic, it's time for governments to stop enacting rules that create unnecessary roadblocks to small business recovery and instead focus on helping them address these problems."