Small businesses continue to face challenges and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic and the government is providing support to ensure they can stay in business.
Since the spring, the Canada Emergency Business Account has helped almost 800,000 small businesses and not-for-profits in Canada. Today the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, announced the expansion of the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA).
Starting on Friday, December 4, 2020, eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are able to access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000 – on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses.
Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.
This means the additional loan effectively increases CEBA loans from the existing $40,000 to $60,000 for eligible businesses, of which a total of $20,000 will be forgiven if the balance of the loan is repaid on time.
As announced in the Fall Economic Statement, the application deadline for CEBA has also been extended to March 31, 2021.
To apply, eligible businesses and not-for-profits need to contact the financial institution that provided their initial CEBA loan and provide the appropriate information and documentation.
“As Canada fights a powerful second wave of COVID-19, many of our small businesses are facing immense uncertainty. They are resilient and have innovated and adapted during this pandemic, but our government knows they need support. This increased CEBA loan will help protect jobs, protect businesses and make sure the small businesses our communities love and rely on are not permanently closed once we have defeated the virus.”
– The Hon. Chrystia Freeland,Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance
“Small businesses are the heart of Canada’s communities and the engine of our economy. Our government is committed to supporting small business owners through the pandemic and beyond. Expanding CEBA loans to $60,000 will help give hard-working Canadian business owners the support they need to weather today’s challenges and build towards a brighter future.”
– The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
As of December 1, 2020, more than 793,000 CEBA loans have been approved, representing over $31 billion in funds.
Launched on April 9, 2020, CEBA provided a $40,000, zero-interest, partially forgivable loan to small businesses that experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19 and faced ongoing non-deferrable costs, such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes and employment costs. By assisting these businesses in servicing their non-deferrable costs, CEBA is intended to facilitate the post-COVID resumption of normal business operations.
Since its launch, the government has made modifications to CEBA to help even more small businesses, including:
- increasing the payroll eligibility range to between $20,000 and $1.5 million;
- making CEBA available to owner-operated small businesses that do not have a payroll, sole proprietors receiving business income directly as well as family-owned corporations remunerating in the form of dividends rather than payroll;
- making CEBA available to businesses operating from a personal banking account that had previously been unable to apply due to not operating from a business banking account; and
- as of Friday, December 4, 2020, making available an additional $20,000 CEBA loan, for eligible businesses facing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The additional $20,000 CEBA loan may not be available at all participating financial institutions on December 4, but is expected to be available soon.
To qualify for CEBA, all applicants must have:
- An active Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) business number with an effective date of registration on or prior to March 1, 2020;
- meet the payroll eligibility criteria; or
- demonstrate a minimum of $40,000 in eligible non-deferrable expenses, and have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada (EDC), which is working closely with Canadian financial institutions to deliver the loans to their existing business banking customers. The CEBA Call Centre can be reached at 1-888-324-4201 between Monday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
CEBA is part of the government’s comprehensive support for small businesses, which also includes:
- The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, which the Fall Economic Statement proposes to raise the maximum base subsidy of to 75 per cent;
- The Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy, which provides rent or commercial mortgage support up to 65 per cent directly to businesses that have been affected by COVID-19; and
- New Lockdown Support, which provides a rent subsidy of 25 per cent to businesses that have to significantly restrict their activities as a result of a public health order.