Access to Labour

Last updated on June 5, 2023

Pre-pandemic, franchising employed 1.9 million people across Canada. In 2022, that number is down to 1.85 million employees. This decline is primarily because business owners cannot fill available jobs.

Canada’s unemployment rate in February 2022 was 5.5%, lower than the pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 5.7% (February 2020). However, Statistics Canada has reported that the unemployment rate would have been 7.4% in February 2022 had its calculations included people who wanted a job but did not look for one.

Many franchised and non-franchised businesses are having trouble filling jobs at all wage levels. This challenge is present across wage and skill levels, and in fact 75% of franchised businesses employees make more than minimum wage.

Labour shortage/supply:

Jurisdictions across Canada and around the world are facing post-pandemic labour shortages in all sectors.

Governments need to address the issue by lifting barriers to employment.

We applaud Ontario for changing many things to date including:

  • Relaxed standards for immigrants by doubling economic immigration numbers,
  • Accepting provincial standards and certificates from the other provinces, and
  • Providing incentives and educational breaks for those entering the skilled trades, including upgraded and expanded training centres.

Gig economy:

Jurisdictions across Canada are wrestling with the treatment of workers employed in the gig economy.

Some business groups have warned that stronger worker protections would destroy the gig economy and many advisory groups such as Chambers of Commerce have advised government to take a light hand if it introduces tighter labour laws for gig workers who are considered independent contractors and are not employees.

In Ontario, the Working for Workers Act received Royal Assent in April 2022. It amends multiple acts including: the Digital Platform Workers’ Rights Act (DPWRA), the Employment Standards Act, Occupational Health and Safety Act, and Fair Access to Regulated Professions and Compulsory Trade Act (2006).

The CFA has met with the Ministry of Labour to highlight the dangers and challenges to the survival of franchise small business owners, many of whom utilize independent contractors in their businesses. The CFA believes in fair treatment of all workers, including employees and independent contractors, and asks that government continues to work with advisory groups like the Chambers of Commerce and the CFA to find beneficial solutions for both workers and small business employers.

    Skilled trades:

    Ontario has made great strides under the Ford government in the growth of the skilled trades in the province.

    New programs have been brought in to increase training opportunities and to give students a real opportunity to build a career in the skilled trades.

    We applaud the government for this and encourage them to continue the expansion.


    We ask that government continue to work with small businesses to find creative solutions to the labour market challenge as quickly as possible, and to remove barriers to accessing labour so franchise small businesses can fully serve their customers and continue to drive the economy.