The federal government announced that the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans that were due to be repaid by the end of this year, would have that repayment schedule pushed until the end of 2024.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the extension of CEBA on Sept. 14, saying that while many businesses have been able to repay those loans, many more still have not.
“We know that some need a bit more runway,” said the Prime Minister.
He said that the time extension would also help workers at those businesses, and consumers as well.
“Canadians are facing many challenges these last few years and our government was there to help. And that’s what we will continue to do.”
Prior to the extension, the deadline of Dec. 31 for repayments of CEBA loans meant that the approximately 80 per cent of Canadian businesses that have yet to repay their loans would lose upwards of $20,000 on the forgivable portion of the loan, and have to begin to pay interest on the entire balance.
News positive for Calgary small businesses heading into Small Business Week
Reaction from the Calgary Chamber of Commerce to the news was positive, with Chamber CEO Deborah Yedlin saying that it came as a welcome piece of news leading up to Small Business Week in the city.
“We still see that you know, 49 per cent of small businesses are still generating lower than normal revenues, 50 per cent of Canadian foodservice operators are operating at a loss or breaking even compared to 12 per cent pre-pandemic. And companies have had a mounting debt load,” she said.
“This gives them a bit more runway to pay it back at a time when interest rates have been rising and causing other pressures within their own businesses. So this is such welcome news, and a big relief for small businesses across the country.”
Yedlin said that the Chamber had been lobbying the government for the extension, including writing a letter to Cabinet in July, and meeting with the Minister of Small Business Rechie Valdez.
She said that the extension of CEBA was a small part of what businesses need to address what has become an affordability crisis for their operations.
“The issues for small businesses don’t go away. This is just one less. This is a variable that they don’t have to be as concerned about, but they still have other issues they have to deal with,” Yedlin said.