Businesses Need the Federal Government to Extend CEBA Loan Repayments

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government launched the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), offering businesses loans of up to $60,000. The loans were processed through regular banks and financial institutions but guaranteed through the Federal Government, leaving the liability on the government. The loans were interest-free and intended to help businesses with expenses related to the pandemic, such as patio expansions and personal protective equipment.

However, businesses who took out the loans are now worried because they only have six months left to repay them. If they repay the loans by the end of this year, they can have up to a third of the amount they borrowed forgiven. But if they don’t, the loan will be renewed for an additional two years, ending on December 31, 2025, with a fixed interest rate of 5%.

Further, the CEBA program no longer reviews, assesses or re-determines the eligibility status, outcome or repayment term of borrowers. As the application and funding periods for the CEBA program have now closed, the opportunity for further resolution has now passed. Applications will no longer be reconsidered by the CEBA program.

The Surrey Board of Trade is urging the Federal Government to extend the repayment deadline of the CEBA loan for an additional two years to December 2025 without penalty and increase the forgivable portion of the loan, given the challenges businesses face.

“Businesses are facing a complete 360-degree storm right now on escalating costs, and workforce and supply chain challenges,” said Anita Huberman, President & CEO, Surrey Board of Trade. “We need to work together to keep the spirit of entrepreneurialism alive.”

Many Surrey businesses took on a CEBA loan to survive two years of pandemic lockdowns and business restrictions. For a sustainable economic strategy, the Federal Government must support businesses to reduce their COVID debt burdens.