The average small business owner works 54 hours a week, the equivalent of an eight-day workweek for most salaried workers, according to a new report released Monday by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
The CFIB said those who say they work more hours because of labour shortages clock in even more, about 59 hours a week, 20 of which are spent compensating for staffing challenges. That means they spend 34 per cent of their 59-hour workweek making up for lack of employees.
“This is a lot of time that business owners could spend on other priorities such as growing their business or looking into government programs. But the impacts can also be felt outside of work. Many owners who work more hours don’t have time for family and friends, and it can affect their mental health and wellbeing,” said Laure-Anna Bomal, CFIB economist and co-author of the report.
The CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region.
Some other key findings from the report:
- The number of small businesses impacted by labour shortages has increased from 55 per cent in November 2021 to 59 per cent in September 2022;
- All provinces report that more than half of businesses are impacted, with Quebec (66 per cent), Saskatchewan (62 per cent) and Manitoba (62 per cet) being the most affected by staffing challenges;
- Labour shortages primarily affect the number of work hours: among businesses experiencing labour shortages, 73 per cent reported the owners had to work more hours and 54 per cent reported their employees had to work more hours to make up for being short-staffed;
- 48 per cent of affected businesses also had to turn down sales and contracts or 47 per cent had to decrease their service offerings;
- The share of affected owners working more hours is highest in the hospitality (84 per cent) and agriculture (82 per cent) sectors.
“Instead of being captains who keep their ships on course, short-staffed business owners are having to paddle just to stay afloat,” said François Vincent, CFIB’s vice-president. “Long hours and overtime can also negatively affect employees, adding to a low morale in the workplace.”
“With Canada’s aging population, the shortages will get worse if our labour market approach does not change. There isn’t one-size-fits-all solution, but governments can help by implementing targeted measures such as reducing the tax burden that will allow them to invest in employee’s compensation, training, and automation. Additionally, streamlining immigration processes is key to finding the talent that small businesses can’t find right now. Finally, red tape reduction is a strategic way for governments to act to give back time to our entrepreneurs,.”
Read The 8-Day Workweek report for more details.
(Mario Toneguzzi is Managing Editor of Canada’s Podcast. He has more than 40 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald, covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He works as well as a freelance writer for several national publications and as a consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named in 2021 as one of the Top 10 Business Journalists in the World by PR News – the only Canadian to make the list)
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