Most of Canada’s 1.2 million small- and medium-sized enterprises have been affected by COVID-19. A substantial number of them remain heavily indebted as pandemic restrictions ease, while workforce shortages and supply-chain disruptions are still a problem.
The pandemic has added to the looming succession crisis for these companies due to the growing number of owners nearing retirement who don’t have a formal plan in place for the continuity of their businesses.
This coming succession crunch, part of what’s known as “the silver tsunami,” was already being discussed by the early 2010s in Canada. Economic experts in the United States and the European Union have also been warning of a similar phenomenon on the horizon for more than a decade.
At stake before the pandemic was $1.5 trillion in business assets and the future of a large swath of Canada’s workforce because so many Canadians are employed by small- and medium-sized companies.
Overall, Canadian business owners aren’t prepared for succession or for the impacts of crises on their companies. Jobs and the socio-economic well-being of Canadian communities are potentially at risk.