Skip to Content
News Releases
Despite continued pandemic hardships, close to 70 per cent of business owners in Canada feel optimistic about the long-term: CIBC Poll

More entrepreneurs seeing brighter days ahead than last year, and the number of those feeling negatively impacted is dropping

TORONTO, July 22, 2021 /CNW/ - Coming out of the 18 month-long pandemic, a new CIBC study suggests business owners in Canada feel brighter days may be ahead: 69 per cent (+10 percentage points from November and +19 percentage points  from last April) say they feel optimistic about the long-term future of their business. Findings also show there is a downward trend in how business owners feel they have been negatively impacted by COVID-19: 58 per cent, down from 68 per cent reported in November 2020 and 81 per cent in April 2020.

"Canadian business owners continue to show extraordinary resilience during these difficult times," said David Leuty, Senior Vice-President, Business Banking, CIBC. "As the economy moves toward opening up, I encourage owners to seek advice about any additional relief they may need, including help with cash-flow management or additional future-proofing to meet their long-term ambitions."

Top concerns remain similar to when the pandemic first broke, but amongst fewer business owners. A reduced demand for products/services is still a worry for 34 per cent (-18 percentage points from last April), while 21 per cent have concerns for the overall viability of their shops (-11 percentage points from last April). Conversely, there is a slight uptick in worries over the availability of inventory/materials for 19 per cent, up seven percentage points from April 2020.  

In order to manage through the pandemic and into the future, many business owners have implemented a number of changes. A quarter (26 per cent) say they have undertaken health and safety measures beyond legislative requirements, while a similar number (25 per cent) say they have increased their online presence and 21 per cent have introduced new payment technologies. Almost a third (29 per cent) reduced operating expenses to get through the crisis while 20 per cent had to dip into savings.

Main ambitions moving forward are to grow their business (34 per cent), go from surviving to thriving (32 per cent), remain operational (29 per cent) and develop new revenue sources (25 per cent).

Business owners should consider the following areas as they plan in the near and longer-term, and consider expert advice to help:

  • Staying afloat in the near-term: for owners in need of additional relief, check all the government loans available, including the new Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP), which provides government-backed, low-interest term loans (ranging from $25,000 to $1 million) to cover operational cash flow expenses.
  • Setting up for success (and staying on top): one of the most important and basic aspects of running a business is managing cash flow. An advisor can help owners with effective strategies including tips on how to create constructive cash reserves, trim costs and evaluate borrowing needs.

Business owners can visit CIBC's Biz Hub for more resources dedicated to topics like cash flow management, taxes, business recovery, how to build and expand digital capabilities and more. 

Other poll findings:

  • 41 per cent say they have accessed at least one or more federal government support programs
  • Stress levels are down (57 per cent, -15 percentage points from November 2020), as are work hours (42 per cent report working more hours than prior to the pandemic, -10 percentage points since November)
  • 36 per cent say they have changed business operations to allow for selling and servicing online


Disclaimer: From June 9th to June 15th 2021 an online survey of 1,020 Canadian Small Business Owners who are Maru Voice Business Canada panelists was executed by Maru/Blue. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. 

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at


For further information: Trish Tervit, Public Affairs, 416-813-9119 or