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Statistics Canada recorded 56,296 business closures in June, an improvement from May but still 44% more than in February before the Covid-19 pandemic struck in force in Canada.

The number of business closures in June was down 5.6% nationally compared with May, with Quebec being the only province or territory showing an increase, Statscan said Monday.

The largest decreases since the previous month occurred in Nova Scotia (down 29.3% or 403 fewer), Newfoundland and Labrador (down 21.5% or 199 fewer), and Alberta (down 19.5% or 1,688 fewer).

There were also 52,723 business openings nationally in June, 33% more than Statistics Canada recorded in May.

But only about one-fifth of all businesses that closed in March or April had reopened by June and 14.1% of businesses that were active in February remain closed as of June, it said.

“In all provinces and territories, with the exception of Prince Edward Island and the Yukon, the number of business closures remains higher than the pre-Covid level of February,” Statcan said.

“For instance, in Ontario, the level of business closures in June was 47% greater than the February level.”

The novel coronavirus was first identified in China in late 2019 and had been recognized as a significant threat to human health by February but the World Health Organization didn’t officially declare Covid-19 as a global pandemic until March 11.

Statistics Canada said its monthly business closures report, begun after the pandemic began, remains experimental and cautions against putting too much reliance on the data.

However, a data chart attached to the report says the number of active businesses in June was 695,194, down from 797,501 in February.

The table also shows 641,107 continuing businesses in June and the number of opening businesses (52,723) was less than the number of closing businesses (56,296).

A separate table shows 19.2% of businesses that closed since February had reopened as of June, but some industries were slower to recover than others.

At the low end of the range of post-Covid reopenings were wholesale trade (13.8% reopened) and retail trade (14.7%).

At the high end were utilities (32.7% reopened) and forestry, fishing and hunting (29.5%).