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Atlantic Canada’s small businesses unaware of employment support programs amid labour shortages: CFIB

By Canadian Federation of Independent Business   

News Business Intelligence

(Canadian Federation of Independent Business)

Despite the prevalence of labour shortages impacting 74 per cent of small businesses, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) reports that almost one in two (45 per cent) Atlantic Canadian small business owners are unaware of provincial employment support programs (ESPs) such as wage subsides and training grants.

A new CFIB report highlights that more than half (53 per cent) of small businesses in the Atlantic provinces have not used ESPs due to a lack of awareness of the programs and ambiguity around eligibility requirements. “Some small business owners only learned about the existence of some programs after they received our survey, which highlights the need for improved government communication,” says Beatrix Abdul Azeez, policy analyst at CFIB. “These programs have the potential to ease some of the pressures of labour shortages, thus, it is imperative for the Atlantic governments to refine the way they promote them in order to improve awareness and uptake.”

Small business owners who have used the programs in the past year reported benefits such as reduced hiring costs and a faster hiring process. However, one third (28 per cent) reported that the programs had no impact on their business citing issues like skills mismatches and unqualified candidates.

“There is significant value in consulting with small businesses prior to developing these programs. Such consultations will offer all Atlantic Canada’s governments a better understanding of small businesses’ needs, leading to better outcomes for all small businesses who participate in the programs,” added Abdul Azeez.


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