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Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on October 20, 2023 with No Comments

Roughly 900,000 businesses took out CEBA loans — only a fifth had repaid in full by the end of June.Canada’s premiers are calling on the federal government to push back the deadline for businesses to repay their government-backed pandemic loans in order to access the forgivable portion.

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) was introduced at the height of the pandemic to help out small businesses forced to close or limit their operations due to public health measures. The program offered interest-free loans backed by the federal government.

A business could apply for up to $60,000 through the program. Up to $20,000 would be forgiven if the rest was repaid by a certain date.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, all 13 provincial and territorial premiers asked Ottawa to extend that deadline.

“The same loan that was once a lifeline during the pandemic is now threatening to sink the small businesses that are only just getting by,” the letter reads.

The government recently granted a small extension to the deadline, moving it from December of this year to Jan. 18, 2024. Many businesses have called for the deadline to be delayed by a full year.

The premiers are now calling for a full year extension. They argue in their letter that small businesses are being hit with new costs pressures from inflation and higher interest rates.
Valdez did say she has been touring the country listening to small businesses in recent weeks, and plans to report back to cabinet on what could be done to help those that are struggling.

“I will continue to advocate for small businesses and even think about different options that are available at our disposal,” she said.

When asked if those options include another CEBA extension, the minister was tight-lipped.

“There’s several options,” she said. “But it’s more for me to bring back and then see what’s viable with both our departments as well as with cabinet.”

Nearly 900,000 businesses were approved for the program, which distributed just over $49 billion in loans. About a fifth had paid back their loans in full by the end of June.

 

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