Small businesses rack up $139 billion in COVID-19-related debt: CFIB

Despite the lifting of lockdown restrictions in regions across the country, many small businesses have continued to rack up debts related to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the collective debt level in Canada hitting $139 billion.

That’s according to a new report released Tuesday by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), an industry group representing 95,000 small businesses across the country.

The report, based on surveys of members conducted in May and August, found that the average amount of debt related to the COVID-19 pandemic taken on by small business owners is $169,957. While that amount is largely unchanged from a previous survey conducted in February, the debt level among businesses in the hospitality sector has skyrocketed to an average of $333,174. Collective debt levels have also jumped since February, from $135 billion to $139 billion. 

In fact, the debt loads have gotten so high that some business owners (13

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