The Canadian government extended the deadline for small businesses to pay back emergency loans—one of the most widely used pandemic relief programs.
Refresher: Starting in April 2020, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program offered zero-interest loans of CA$60,000 to eligible small businesses, as well as loan forgiveness of up to 33 percent if paid back by the deadline. Over 898K businesses took advantage of the program.
What happened: The deadline to settle up and qualify for partial loan forgiveness has been pushed a year (to December 2023). Loans not paid back by the end of 2023 will be converted into two-year loans with 5% interest.
Some say that’s not enough: Small businesses have been the hardest hit by lockdown measures. According to a Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) survey in November 2021, just 36% said they were back to pre-pandemic sales.
The CFIB has asked the government to consider pushing back the deadline further, issuing another round of loans, and bumping the partial loan forgiveness amount.
- Provinces stepped up to support small businesses too. Ontario launched a $10,000 grant and Quebec brought back its Assistance to Businesses in Regions on Maximum Alert, which covers up to $15,000 in eligible fixed costs per month.