The federal government must reverse its policy banning unvaccinated truck drivers from coming into Canada before supply shortages and price increases drive even more businesses to the brink, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). On January 12, CFIB sent a letter to the Ministers of Transportation, Health and Public Safety urging the government to reverse the vaccination requirement.

"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," said CFIB president Dan Kelly.

Supply chain issues and inflation top list of business worries for 2022

Rising prices (81 per cent) and supply chain challenges (70 per cent) were the biggest issues facing businesses heading into 2022 in CFIB's latest survey. This latest hurdle places even more pressure on an already strained system following the strike at the Port of Montreal and congestion at the Port of Vancouver, flooding that cut off roads and trains from British-Columbia in November, and other delays throughout 2021. In addition, the transportation industry has been one of the hardest hit by labour shortages, with 68 per cent of businesses in the sector unable to find enough staff for current operations or to expand, according to a report CFIB published in December.

In turn, small businesses are predicting historically-high price increases of 4.4 per cent over the next 12 months on CFIB's mid-January Business Barometer. Price increases of this magnitude are likely to hurt small businesses' ability to compete at a time when many are still struggling to get back to normal sales. The latest results on CFIB's Small Business Recovery Dashboard show that only 30 per cent are making normal sales (down from 36 per cent in November), 42 per cent are fully staffed (down from 45 per cent in November) and 65 per cent are fully open (down from 78 per cent in November).

"We're already seeing major delays for necessary supplies. 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," added Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB.

SOURCE: Canadian Federation of Independent Business