CEBA Forgivable Deadline Looms: Small Businesses Seek Government Clarification and Extension

by Staff

In a recent press release, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has raised concerns over the approaching deadline for small businesses to repay Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans, emphasizing that many businesses may be under a mistaken impression about the deadline extension.

Small businesses who obtained CEBA loans have only 100 days left to repay the loans before the forgivable portion, up to $20,000, expires. The CFIB reported that 87% of these businesses are seeking an extension to the end of 2024.

A recent announcement by the government, extending the forgivable deadline to January 18, 2024, left many small businesses believing they had until the end of 2024 to repay their loans. However, the actual extension was much shorter, creating concerns that businesses may see their debt increase by 50% in a matter of months.

The CFIB expressed deep worry that businesses that cannot repay their loans in the next 100 days are being directed to take out higher-interest bank loans to secure the forgivable portion, which is detrimental to small businesses.

The CFIB conducted a survey indicating that four out of five small businesses did not find the government’s changes helpful. Over half (53%) of small business owners are questioning the viability of their businesses if they lose the forgivable portion. Only one-third (34%) can repay their CEBA loans on time, while another third (30%) will borrow funds to access the forgivable portion, and the final third (29%) have no means to secure a loan for repayment.

The CFIB is urging the government to extend the forgivable deadline until the end of 2024 or launch a campaign to correct misinformation that might lead to a substantial increase in debt for small firms. Over 47,000 business owners have signed CFIB’s petition calling for an extension.

Corinne Pohlmann, Executive Vice-President at CFIB, emphasized the importance of understanding the challenges small businesses face and asked the government for more time, given the substantial support provided to larger corporations.

“Ottawa can’t turn its back on small businesses now,” Pohlmann said. “All we are asking for is just a bit more time. After giving away billions in subsidies to large multinationals, this is the least Ottawa can do to show it understands the realities of running a small business in Canada.”

Small business owners are encouraged to visit CFIB’s website for more information on the CEBA announcement and financing options.

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