Media Releases Nov 19, 2020

Grim holidays for food service and accommodation workers: twice as many restaurant and hotel businesses have laid off staff

(OTTAWA) – November 19, 2020 – New data published by Statistics Canada in the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC) reveals that businesses in the food service and accommodation industry have laid off staff at nearly double the rate of other businesses (62.1% versus the national average of 36.5%). Worryingly, this places restaurants and hotels 15 points worse-off than any other industry.

Looking forward, 22.5% of businesses in accommodation and food services also expect to decrease their staffing levels over the next three months, which is more than double the national average (10.4%).

While these businesses reported they had applied for a number of government supports, less than a quarter (23%) were approved for CECRA, the previous commercial rent support program. This underscores that Canadian jobs and livelihoods depend on successful support programs being in place to keep businesses afloat.

“This new data unfortunately paints a bleak and desperate picture for those food service and accommodation businesses that somehow made it through until now. Even for these survivors, it’s crunch time. The need for governments to switch from broad-based support programs to targeted supports is now clear,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “

The latest CSBC data was collected from Canadian businesses, supported by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, from mid-September through mid-October, which confirms the food service and accommodation industry is among the hardest hit.

“It’s concerning to consider that this data, stark as it is, was collected at a time before much of the country was faced with the full force of a second wave of COVID-19. This data is also collected from businesses that, by definition, are the survivors from the first wave,” added Beatty. “Now that we are facing a second wave, winter coming, and depleted business reserves, it is crucial for the government to urgently provide targeted supports to businesses that depend on personal interactions to survive. This includes restaurants, hotels, travel, tourism, and hospitality businesses primarily. Canadian livelihoods depend on it.”

For more data on how the food services industry has been impacted by COVID-19, click here.

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.


For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor