Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

A new study has found the businesses in North America’s gay villages were hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic than those owned by members of the LGBTQ2S+ community elsewhere.

The study, commissioned by retail commerce company Lightspeed and carried out by Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, looked at the impact of the pandemic on businesses that are more than 51 per cent owned by members of the LGBTQ2S+ community – as referred to in the study – in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.

Most businesses in the villages fell under the retail, restaurant and entertainment categories, which have been hardest hit over the last year and a half, according to data from Statistics Canada. Those that didn’t fall under those categories did not tend to operate within gay villages, said the Sprott School’s Dana Brown.

Story continues below advertisement

Though most businesses surveyed were located outside of gay villages, the study found they were concerned about the longevity of business within the villages as they dealt with closures, gentrification and high rent.

Dax Dasilva, CEO of Lightspeed, said in an interview the reasons for commissioning the report were personal as his business got its start in the gay village in Montreal 16 years ago. The work of gathering data on LGBTQ2S+ business leaders is the first step of improving chances for those in the community, he added.

“By understanding some of these local business communities, I think we could be a better advocate for them, and … also be a better provider in terms of solutions,” said Dasilva.

Overall, 60 per cent of respondents reported the pandemic negatively affected their business operations. The study also found that 20 per cent of the businesses surveyed reported having laid off employees since the start of the pandemic.

Despite the challenges, Brown said during an interview respondents did display a level of resiliency.

She also said the research was not only focused on how the businesses fared during the pandemic but the best ways to build stronger communities with the LGBTQ2S+ business landscape.

“My colleagues feel that there’s the potential for fantastic economic impact if we do support these business leaders,” Brown said. “One of the things we see in the study and we know from what we know about LGBTQ businesses is that there are a lot of businesses led by LGBT leaders, and they thrive and they do well and the more the better.”

Story continues below advertisement

Which is why Brown said next steps in supporting LGBTQ2S+ business leaders should involve government policy to ensure the community is bolstered to allow for more talent and innovation to enter the countries’ economies.

With the study completed, Dasilva said the LGBTQ2S+ business community may be better equipped to restart operations as COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax across the United States and Canada.

“There’s this big desire to support local, and that I think is a great supporting point to rebuild some of these business communities and build them better,” he said.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies