Did you ever think that by the time the government decides it’s ready to reopen businesses again, there may be none left to step foot in?

This stark reality was brought to light when Rajie sat down and chatted with Samantha Flatman, who is the managing director of We Are All Essential (WAAE), a Canada-wide small business network taking a united stand to end lockdowns. 

The conversation started with understanding a bit more about who Samantha is, and why she chose to take a leadership position in the movement to re-open Canada and unite small business owners. After having her own business financially affected by the lockdowns, Flatman took inspired action. She recognized all of her personal, “inner-work” she has undergone for the past 10 + years. Reflecting that this has made her emotionally, mentally, and spiritually strong enough to fight for this cause. Within this movement, there are many people that share a similar vision but feel that they aren’t being heard. 

Flatman states: “Every day I receive messages from business owners at the end of their rope. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, with no revenue to rely on in sight. They are selling anything and everything, losing their homes, laying off staff, unable to plan even a week ahead for their business with the uncertainty of when restrictions will be lifted or imposed again. Many are anxious and depressed. Some utterly hopeless and on suicide watch.”

At this point there is a year’s worth of data and experience that we can fall back on, to see that these measures and lockdowns have done more harm than good. A question that keeps popping up with regards to businesses is, what are the unions and other associations doing to help protect their members? According to Flatman, many of the WAAE members have said they have cancelled their union dues and fees as they would much rather support and donate towards this new ‘freedom economy’ that they see emerging. 

How Does WAAE Help Businesses?

WAAE connects their members with existing organizations and resources to fully empower themselves. This includes legal, media, and community support, both internally between business owners, and with citizens across Canada that are ready and willing to support them as customers. 

WAAE helps business owners understand their rights and how to exercise them, how to talk to bylaw and other enforcement, as well as how to fight fines and court summons if necessary. 

Their website offers a wealth of information and also features a directory of all the businesses in the network searchable by city. 

Flatman sincerely implores businesses that were hit hard as a result of the lockdowns, not go down without a fight. She explains to us that if you are afraid of the fines, and other repercussions, the network is there to help answer and support the answers to those very questions. According to Flatman, many of their members have gone through the entire process and are able to help someone else through it as well. 

Chances are you put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into building your business. Isn’t it worth fighting for? Thousands of businesses have taken on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt over the last year, with no revenue in sight. This is the current reality facing small businesses. As a society, we are facing the potential fatality of unique businesses that add so much to our culture. 

For a complete breakdown of the information above, watch this 30 minute interview to hear from Samantha Flatman herself about her work and this movement. Thanks so much.


Only 22% of biz across Canada seeing normal sales volumes 

65% Canadian businesses operating at a loss

8 of 10 restaurants losing money or barely scraping by. 

7 out of 10 biz took on debt this past year at an average of $170,000 

Most businesses don’t quality for grants and even if they do, 10-20k is a drop in the bucket given the leases and other overhead they have been carrying. 

1/4 million businesses at risk of bankruptcy 3 million jobs will be lost if they do go under 


Business owners – Join the network for training and support to open your business fully. www.WeAreAllEssential.ca/register 

Looking for a way to take action? Register as a volunteer through www.WeAreAllEssential.ca/volunteer 

Rough Time Codes:

1:10 – How she got into this and how lockdown effected her own business

2:10 – “ we can choose to be victors or victims”

3:30 – defining ‘essential’

5:00 – we all have the right to earn a living and put food on our tables

6:15 – real life struggles she hears from small business owners every single day

10:13 – WAAE educates business owners about their rights and responsibilities as a way to help mitigate further harm caused.<

13:00 – case studies of owners that have opened

17:30 – When will ‘decision makers’ take collateral damages into consideration when creating measures?

20: 00 – Samantha addresses the argument of “ what’s the big deal, they are receiving the CERB and grants”

23:10 – WAAE members have tried many times to reach out to the government to have discussions about how to move forward

26:08 – Do we want a bunch of big box stores everywhere? 

27:12 – What kind of world does she actually want to live in..

30: 45 – entrepreneurs, is your business worth fighting for? Yes! Get support with WAAE network

32:22 – the directory, you can join publicly or privately


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