Small Businesses: Trade Critical to Canada’s Economic Recovery

Survey Finds Small Businesses Optimistic for Better Fortunes in 2021


MISSISSAUGA, ON., Nov 2, 2020— Canadian small businesses have made it clear that economic recovery and international trade are closely linked, with 80 per cent agreeing that increasing trade between Canada and other countries will improve the economy overall. This comes from the 2020 FedEx Trade Index, a poll conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of FedEx Express Canada, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp (NYSE: FDX).

While 31 per cent of Canadian small businesses say their revenues are decreasing, small businesses are generally optimistic about the future of their business. Forty-three per cent say they believe a year from now their revenues will be increasing and 78 percent are confident in the future success of their business.

“Small businesses are the foundation upon which Canada’s economy is built,” said Lisa Lisson, president, FedEx Express Canada. “Small businesses are going through a generational battle for survival and their success is key to Canada’s economic recovery. Despite their challenges, their optimism is encouraging.”

Overlooked Opportunities: E-commerce, International Trade

Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic may prove to be a long process, with one in five small businesses who have moved to temporary remote work saying they do not expect to move back to in-person office until next year. However, half of small businesses (51 per cent) believe that increasing the amount of trade between Canada and other countries will help their business. Surprisingly, only 39 per cent of Canadian small businesses are currently selling goods online. While Canadian SMEs share the view that trade is important to the economy, the poll confirms that vast majority of survey respondents (59 per cent) state the main reason their business does not import or export is because their customers are mainly local.

“Our borders remain open for trade and new markets wait for Canada’s goods and services. In challenging times such as these, we urge our small business owners to explore new strategies” said Lisa Lisson, President of FedEx Express Canada. “The FedEx Trade Index suggests not enough small business owners have pivoted their “brick and mortar” operations with “click and mortar” enhancements, opening their potential customer base to 7.8 billion people. This is where our small businesses can find growth potential.”

FedEx supports trade agreements that reduce trade barriers and create opportunities for our customers. Looking more deeply at the impact trade has on small businesses, 73 per cent of SMEs who import or export goods admit that fees and tariffs have had a great deal or some effect on the growth on their business. Four out of ten (41 per cent) SMEs who import or export goods say import/export fees are a major challenge to their business, with 38 per cent saying the same about the variations in fees and tariffs. This represents a real barrier to Canadian small businesses when importing or exporting goods to and from different countries. FedEx actively supports governments’ measures aimed at expanding access via the opening of markets and sharing of information around the world.

Overwhelming Support for CUSMA

The Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) enjoys overwhelming support among small business decision makers. Nearly nine in ten small business decision makers (86%) in Canada support CUSMA. Small businesses feel that international trade will not only help the Canadian economy, but their personal business as well. More than half of Canadian small businesses (51%) think increasing trade between their country and other countries will help their company. FedEx plays a critical role in expanding trade by connecting people and possibilities, helping businesses build more nimble supply chains, and delivering local products and services to customers around the world.

About the Survey

The poll was conducted from September 29 to September 29, 2019 among 500 small business decision makers in the Canada. These interviews were conducted online using a panel of respondents. The goal of the research is to understand the impact of international trade among small business and as well as their opinions regarding the national economy.

About FedEx Corp.
FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenue of $70 billion, the company offers integrated business solutions through operating companies competing collectively, operating collaboratively and innovating digitally under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 500,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. To learn more about how FedEx connects people and possibilities around the world, please visit

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James Anderson

Communications Advisor

Public Relations and Corporate Communications

(905) 212-5372