Cost of Living

Dispatches from the small businesses struggling with COVID-19 and the economics of creating a vaccine

Everyone still has bills to pay, and those financial obligations are especially tough on small businesses who are trying to face the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus and the world's reaction to it. Plus, what does money mean for the race to develop vaccines?

Hear first-hand from Canadians facing economic problems due to the outbreak

A flu vaccine is being prepared in this file photo; small businesses across the country are facing restricted hours due to COVID-19. (Robert Short/CBC, Mike Symington/CBC)

As jurisdictions across Canada and around the world impose restrictions to try and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, small businesses are also feeling an impact.

With Canadians staying home to either self-isolate or practice social distancing, many businesses cannot or should not keep their doors open. In the spirit of self-isolation, The Cost of Living asked small business owners from coast to coast to coast to send us voice members, talking about the challenges they are facing. Paul Haavardsrud also speaks with an economist about whether the government's proposed stimulus is enough and what else might be needed. 
Listen here for more.

The Cost of Living wants to answer your questions about COVID-19's impact on the economy. For example, questions like "If every country is borrowing money right now, why can't we all just forgive each other's debt after the crisis?" Or maybe you are wondering how much of the intense trading on the stock markets is driven by algorithms?

Email your questions to or call us at 1-866-550-COST (2678).
We'll answer your questions in an upcoming episode.

Also in today's episode, CBC producer Allison Dempster explores why and how vaccines are astronomically expensive to develop. For epidemic infectious diseases, on average you're looking at sinking at least $300 million to reach clinical trials. By the time a vaccine is developed, there's a good chance the outbreak has been contained. So what happens now with COVID-19 research? 
Listen here for more.

Click 'Listen' at the top of this page to hear the whole episode or download the CBC Listen app.


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