While Ottawa has extended deadlines for small businesses to repay Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans doled out during the pandemic, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it’s not enough to save many struggling businesses.
A small business could apply for up to $60,000 through the CEBA program, and up to $20,000 would be forgiven if paid back by a certain date.
The government announced this week the overall loan repayment deadline will be extended by a year to Dec. 31, 2026. But the deadline to meet the condition for the forgiveness grant of up to $20,000 was increased by just 18 days, from Dec. 31, 2023, to Jan. 18, 2024.
“The government has failed to address the most critical issue on outstanding CEBA loans – the loss of the $20,000 forgivable portion for those unable to repay the loans by year end. The extension of the forgivable deadline by a few weeks will be of very little value to the thousands of small business owners who just don’t have money to repay now.”
“While many have paid these loans back, we know that some need a bit more runway,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sept. 14, in announcing the extensions. Around 900,000 small businesses and not-for-profits received CEBA subsidies.
Initially, the government did not disclose its outsourcing to Accenture nor how much it paid the Irish firm.