HALIFAX -- The countless closed signs on businesses seemed to signal major layoffs in the Maritimes, and now the numbers are in.

According to Statistics Canada, there have been more than a million job losses across Canada in the month of March.

  • 24,800 of those are in Nova Scotia;
  • 15,200 in New Brunswick; and,
  • 2,100 in P.E.I.

Louis-Phillipe Gauthier of the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses notes that those numbers are lagging.

"The reality is there have been over three million applications to EI and the new federal program," said Gauthier, who is the CFIB's director of provincial affairs."So what we're seeing from an employment numbers from stats can right now is essentially just the tip of the iceberg. We'll get a better picture next month."

Julie Houde runs a boxing club in Dartmouth and has notice a big slowdown.

"Everything has just come to a halt in the physical location," says Houde, who is the CEO of Queensbury Rules Boxing Studio in Dartmouth, which has been closed now for a couple of weeks.

She has concerns about deferred costs.

"We all need to pay at a later date, it's just making it easier for us now, because we don't have as much revenue," Houde said. "But, once we start again it's going to be hard because everything going's to be more expensive and we have more expense."

Gauthier says more help for small businesses is needed during the COVID-19 pandemic from both the provincial and federal levels of government.

"Relaxing the rules from the federal perspective on the two main programs that they've announced," Gauthier said. "From the provincial government, what we're looking for is essentially for them to put in place a hardship grant to help businesses deal with the fixed costs that they're dealing with."