mental health

Small business owners suffering mental health issues during COVID-19

Small business owners are feeling the pandemic burnout, with close to half reporting they have suffered from mental health issues as a result of COVID-19.

That’s according to the latest survey results from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

Preliminary results from the COVID-19 recovery survey, which was held as an online survey from November 20, found that a key trend has been mental health issues.

It’s not the first time the topic has come up in recent months. A Toronto non-profit, Not 9 to 5, was so alarmed by feedback from the city’s foodservice community that it took it upon itself to launch an online mental health support program for operators and workers.

The CFIB survey also found that 43 per cent of small business owners have worked significantly more hours than before the pandemic in a bid to stay afloat, despite the myriad health and safety concerns.

“Many Canadians are struggling with stress right now, and small business owners are no exception. Many of them rely on this time of year to stay afloat, but most are nowhere near their usual sales levels at a really critical time for their survival,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president.

Unfortunately, CFIB notes, the start of the holiday shopping season has been weak for small businesses. While November and December often results in an uptick in activity, the latest results of CFIB’s Small Business Recovery Dashboard show that:

  • 62 per cent are fully open (compared to 66 per cent last month)
  • 41 per cent are fully staffed (compared to 42 per cent last month)
  • Only 29 per cent are making normal sales (compared to 28 per cent last month)

Still time to save the holiday season for small businesses

CFIB is urging consumers to choose to shop small whenever they can this holiday season. Every day and action counts, so CFIB is launching a Small Business Advent Calendar for December as part of its #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign to encourage local shopping. Consumers can find daily ideas for supporting small businesses at

“Many of us across the country may not be able to celebrate the holidays with our families. We need a sense of community and a way to stay connected with one more than ever, and supporting local businesses is a great way to do that,” added Jones. “By giving the gift of local, you not only find something truly special for your loved ones, whether it’s in-store, online or curbside, but also make a difference in the life of all business owners and their employees who are working incredibly hard to keep our communities lively.”