MCC SURVEY: Half of Manitoba businesses already facing significant financial strain due to COVID-19

Mar 28, 2020 | Other News


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: WINNIPEGAccording to a survey conducted March 20 to 25 by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Leger Marketing, half of Manitoba business leaders say they are facing financial impact amid COVID-19, but 80% of our province’s small to medium sized companies (defined in this survey as up to 50 employees) are reporting significant financial impact.

“Our survey results are very concerning, since 98% of the Canadian economy is generated by SMEs and those who work in them,” says Chuck Davidson, President & CEO, Manitoba Chambers of Commerce. “Almost half of leaders in Manitoba’s medium to large sized businesses say they consider COVID-19s impact to be low at this point, and they are focused on maintaining operations well enough to be able to service their customers. But, for the SMEs, financial management is already a major challenge, and cash flow will be their downfall if this situation worsens. Overall, three in 10 leaders say they feel COVID-19 may put them out of business.”

Just some of the measures that business leaders say they’ve implemented to respond to COVID-19s impact on operations include:

  • restricting spending (68% of respondents)
  • adjusting hours of operation, laying off employees, assisting laid-off staff in filing Employment Insurance claims, permitting their staff to use their available paid time off (30%)
  • and increasing health and safety measures (66%).

Andrew Enns, Executive Vice President with Leger Marketing noted, “It’s encouraging that 54% of businesses have developed and shared a written plan to manage the COVID-19 situation, but that still leaves a lot of employees in organizations potentially without a clear sense of how their employer is managing things. I suspect, however, as a result of these extraordinary events, there will be a shift to many more businesses having crisis management plans in place going forward.”

Although large-sized companies feel somewhat confident that they will be able to weather this situation, this is simply not the case for small to medium enterprises. When asked about the government measures they need to help them stay afloat, two-thirds of companies feel access to emergency financial supports, as well as provincial and federal tax relief, would be beneficial.

“COVID-19 is uncharted territory for the global business community. We are calling on all levels of government to work together to develop a clear definition of essential services across the country, and to establish emergency financial support for SMEs so they can keep employees on the payroll. Governments must set aside all planned tax increases and non COVID-related initiatives and consultations to focus on this critical mission. Without this singular focus, COVID-19 will be a death knell for many wonderful, local businesses that make up Manitoba’s diversified economy,” says Davidson.

To view the complete survey results, click here.


This survey was conducted in Manitoba between March 20-25, 2020, and 672 business leaders responded. The survey has a confidence interval of +/-3.6 percent 19 times out of 20.

About the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, established in 1931, is the umbrella organization for Manitoba’s chamber movement. With a membership comprised of local chambers of commerce as well as direct corporate members, the MCC is Manitoba’s largest business lobby, representing almost 10,000 businesses and community leaders.  Visit us online at #VoiceofBusiness #PoweroftheNetwork

About Leger

Leger 360 is the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, with more than 600 employees in Canada and the United States. Visit us online at

For more information:

Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
Chuck Davidson, President & CEO
Ph: 204-948-0107 or M: 204-792-1679
[email protected]

Andrew Enns, Executive Vice-President – Winnipeg
Ph: 204-989-8986 or M: 204-792-2466
[email protected]




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