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    Notice of release: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Québec businesses in May 2020

    Québec, August 14, 2020. – The results of the second edition of the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions provide insight into the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Québec businesses as they resume operations. The Institut de la statistique du Québec is releasing today an analysis illustrating their situation in May 2020, which reveals that: 

    • Despite the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly two-thirds (65.5%) of the businesses surveyed in June 2020 expected their employee numbers to remain unchanged over the next three months and nearly one-fifth (17.9%) of businesses expected their numbers to increase.
    • Three-quarters (75.5%) of businesses will require or expect to require personal protective equipment or supplies when physical distancing measures decrease.
    • A few businesses (5%) have reorganized as a result of COVID-19 to begin manufacturing personal protective equipment or supplies.
    • Telework has increased since the beginning of the pandemic and continues to grow.
    • Revenues decreased by 30% or more between April 2019 and April 2020 for almost 60% of businesses, while expenses remained unchanged.
    • To cope with this drop in revenues, almost three-quarters (72.0%) of businesses reported that their requests for government financing or credit from external suppliers had been approved.
    • One in five businesses (19.4%) obtained a rent or mortgage payment postponement, but two in five (42.0%) did not request a postponement or were not offered the opportunity to postpone their payments.
    • Over a quarter (30.0%) of businesses report laying off staff as a result of COVID-19, and almost one-fifth (18.8%) report laying off half of their staff or more.

    Data for Québec come from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions (CSBC), May 2020, conducted from May 29 to July 3, 2020, by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. In contrast with the first edition, which was based on a participatory approach and whose target population consisted of businesses with or without employees, the second edition is based on a probabilistic approach and focuses only on businesses with employees. Participation in the survey is voluntary and an electronic questionnaire was used. For Québec, the results presented above are based on the answers of 974 businesses.


    The Institut de la statistique du Québec produces, analyzes and disseminates official, objective and quality statistical information on various aspects of Québec society. It is responsible for conducting all statistical surveys of general interest. The relevance of its work makes it a strategic ally for decision makers and all those wishing to learn more about Québec.

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