Ottawa businesses devastated by protest, OCOBIA survey finds

Downtown Ottawa

Almost three-quarters of businesses located in and around the downtown core have lost revenue as a direct result of the trucker convoy, a new survey says.

Just over half of those businesses will not be able to recover the lost revenues, according to the survey of more than 200 businesses conducted by the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA).

In the survey conducted earlier this week by OCOBIA, about 40 per cent of businesses, mostly retailers, restaurants and services, had to close as a result of the protests, which began last Friday. 

OCOBIA executive director Michelle Groulx said the survey results suggest the ongoing protests that have brought traffic in the core to a standstill have “devastated” businesses in the area.

“I can’t comprehend what these businesses have gone through for the last two years and even more so what they’re going through right now,” she said. 

The majority of the respondents said their staff had been impacted in some way, either not being able to get to work or not feeling safe while on the job. 

Delivery problems

“Certainly we were planning for obstruction and warned about possible safety issues,” said Groulx. “But this level, where you see businesses shut down for the safety of their staff, it’s extremely unfortunate.”

While the majority of the businesses surveyed did not report involving the police, many commented on the impacts of the protest. 

“Even if our staff could make it to work, our deliveries can’t, so [we are] out of products until we can get delivery,” was one comment.

The Ottawa Board of Trade released a statement this week calling on various levels of government to intervene and for demonstrators to go home. 

“They’ve exercised their right to share their views, and at this point, it is very adversely impacting our businesses and our community as a whole,” said Sueling Ching, the board's president and CEO.

“It’s costing businesses and their families and employees. It’s not just about us not being able to open. These people are our family members, our neighbours, and they’re unable to work and they feel unsafe.”