CFIB Expresses Disappointment as Ottawa Ignores Pleas for CEBA Loan Extension, Puts Small Businesses at Risk

by Staff

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it is “very disappointed ” pleas to the federal government for more time for Canadian businesses to repay the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans in order to keep the forgivable portion have been ignored.

Business owners have until Thursday, Jan. 18, to repay $20,000 and $40,000 loans or lose the forgivable portion of those pandemic loans. This has left businesses applying for a refinancing loan with the bank that issued their original CEBA loan by the deadline. These refinancing options would extend to Mar. 28

CFIB says those who miss the deadline will see their CEBA debt rise by 50% from $40,000 to $60,000.

“Ottawa failed to address the most critical issue on outstanding CEBA loans—the loss of the forgivable portion,” aid CFIB president Dan Kelly in a media release Wednesday. “I believe the government will regret the decision to not grant more time as small businesses fail and default on their entire loan. For many businesses, CEBA will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

CFIB had previously advocated for an extension and received support from all 13 of Canada’s Premiers, as well as from the NDP, Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party. Additionally, CFIB’s petition on the matter received more than 57,000 signatures.

In addition to lobbying for an extension, the business advocacy group has called for fairness for businesses who have been deemed ineligible, including pushing the government for a multi-year repayment plan for these businesses as well as ensuring they keep the forgivable portion.

“We are calling on government to give small businesses every benefit of the doubt given the lack of clarity and consistency from government and the banks,” Kelly said.

CFIB has created some online resources for businesses, including a flow chart and a list of resources to help CEBA loan holders better understand their next steps.

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