Small business struggling from COVID-19: Survey

An outdoor testing site was set up in Yellowknife in late March. (CKLB file photo.)

An annual survey conducted by the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce reflects the financial damage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Predominantly small businesses in Yellowknife reported their performance between February 3 and May 1.

The February survey, completed by 46 businesses, provides results before the impacts of COVID-19. This found about 20 per cent reporting a strong performance, 35 per cent ‘performing’, 35 per cent reporting moderate and 11 per cent reporting a poor performance.

In March, when the lockdown began as a result of the pandemic, 17 businesses completed the survey.  The results found no businesses reporting their performance as strong, about 12 per cent ‘performing’, 47 per cent reporting moderate and 41 per cent reporting poor performance.

In April, 13 businesses completed the survey, with 8 per cent reporting a strong performance, 17 per cent reporting ‘performing’, 25 per cent reporting moderate and 50 per cent reporting poor performance.

Despite the financial issues, 48 per cent of respondents say they want to keep the same staff through 2020.

The survey found the top two issues facing businesses include consistently attracting and retaining staff, and the high cost of living and doing business. This has been an issue for the past six years, the survey said.

Several businesses provided advice for the territorial government on how it can help them survive the pandemic. These include more opportunities such as government contracts and access to reliable internet.

The results found 67 per cent of respondents are a small business with fewer than 10 employees, 18 per cent have between 11 and 50 employees, 4 per cent have over 50 employees and 11 per cent indicated they are a charity or non-profit.

About the Author

Luke Carroll
Luke Carroll is a journalist originally from Brockville, Ont. He is happy to call the Northwest Territories home and is always listening for stories that matter to the community. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor in Ottawa, Halifax and New Brunswick. If you have a story idea, feel free to send him an email at luke.carroll@cklbradio.com