The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) takes note of the announcement by the Minister of Health, Christian Dube, of the creation of a vaccination passport for personal services and retail businesses that the government considers nonessential. This puts an additional burden on small businesses, especially in a context where they are already under pressure from a labor shortage.
CFIB’s October survey data of its members who applied passport vaccination shows that for 53% of SMEs it was easy or very easy. However, its implementation was difficult or even very difficult for 45% of them, and 2% did not know. In the context of labor shortages, it is difficult for small businesses to add this responsibility to already small employees. It will be a headache for many small businesses that only have the number of employees necessary to take care of the cash register and customers on the floor and not to manage traffic at the door.
Data from the CFIB survey also shows that vaccination passport has had tangible effects on SMEs:
Our sales decreased (36%)
We have to pay additional costs associated with setting up the system (personnel, equipment or mobile services, Wi-Fi, etc.) (35%)
I or my staff have been the victim of insults or unpleasant reactions (on-site, online, etc.) (29%)
“Small businesses in businesses that the government considers nonessential are already in a very difficult situation. This is exacerbated by the absence associated with COVID-19 symptoms that cannot be confirmed due to the inability to use the PCR test or the lack of rapid tests. SMEs will implement the required measures “The Quebec government should be present to support them, particularly through financial compensation and better management of PCR and rapid testing,” said François Vincent, Quebec vice president at CFIB.
In addition, the CFIB is calling on the government to clarify what constitutes a non-essential service. For example, is a shoe store that sells winter boots necessary or unnecessary? He calls for supermarkets selling non-essential goods to be subject to the same rules as smaller local stores. If not, it would mean sending customers to large supermarket chains as it would prevent them from waiting outside in the cold winter months.
When the vaccine passport was placed on August 24, the Minister of Health said this measure was the balance we had found to keep our economy open while protecting the population. If one draws on the experience of recent shutdowns, one might wonder whether expanding the vaccination passport is not a precursor to what local businesses will soon experience. The government must quickly clarify its intentions, avoid forced business closures at all costs and ensure full financial compensation,” concludes François Vincent, Vice President of Quebec at CFIB.
In fact, the CFIB requested it in a letter sent to the Prime Minister of Quebec last September.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is the largest federation of small and medium businesses in the country, with 95,000 members across all industries and regions. It aims to increase the chances of success of small and medium businesses by defending their interests with governments, providing them with personal resources and offering them exclusive savings. Visit CFIB.ca to find out more.