The federal government has extended the deadline for its Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program, allowing businesses to apply for the interest-free loan until June 30.
Deputy Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Minister Mary Ng announced on Monday that the program, which was set to expire March 31, has been extended to June 30.
“The extension will allow more businesses to access the support they need as Canada’s economy continues to deal with localized public health restrictions and, for a number of businesses, reduced opening hours or reduced demand for services,” the government said in a statement.
CEBA provides interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to small businesses and not-for-profit organizations. When the program was first introduced last April, the loan was capped at $40,000, with up to $10,000 forgivable if certain conditions are met. The government expanded the loan to $60,000 in December, allowing another $10,000 to be forgiven if the loan is repaid by Dec. 31, 2022.
According to the government, more than 850,000 businesses have been approved for CEBA loans, totalling $44.91 billion in funds.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) had called on Ottawa to immediately process all outstanding CEBA applications as well as consider expanding the program further – up to $80,000 with 50 per cent of it forgivable. CFIB president Dan Kelly said via Twitter on Monday that he was pleased with the extension, but pushed the government to expand the program.
Alicja Siekierska is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow her on Twitter @alicjawithaj.