The federal government has announced a last-minute extension to the application deadline for its Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan program, as well as hinted at future changes that could help more businesses — including farms — qualify for the small business loan.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, on Monday, announced the deadline for applying for an interest-free loan of up to $40,000 has been pushed back from August 31 to October 31.
“By making CEBA loans available for an additional two months, we will help more small businesses get into a better position to weather the storm and get back on their feet,” noted Freeland.
Launched in early April, CEBA provides loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses, with up to $10,000 in loan forgiveness if the balance of the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022. To qualify, applicants must either have an annual payroll exceeding $20,000 or be able to demonstrate a minimum of $40,000 in eligible non-deferrable expenses, in addition to having a business account at a financial institution.
Many farmers and farm groups have been frustrated with accessing the program, as farms that are run through a personal bank account have been deemed ineligible, even though they meet the payroll or expense criteria. Some farms also report being told their expenses do not qualify.
On Monday, the government did not provide any details, but said it’s “working with financial institutions to make the CEBA program available to those with qualifying payroll or non-deferrable expenses that have so far been unable to qualify due to not operating from a business banking account.”
“Further details on these changes will be released in coming days, including a new business account opening process through which qualifying businesses will be able to apply,” said a statement from the Department of Finance.
The finance department says more than 730,000 CEBA loans had been approved as of August 27, representing more than $29 billion in credit.