The deadline for applications for the new Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is being extended from March 31 to June 30, 2021.
The federal government is now allowing eligible businesses to apply for the interest-free loan until the end of June. The program had previously been set to expire on March 31.
“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,” said the government.
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 were 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 already 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. Its president Dan Kelly said via Twitter on March 22 that he was pleased with the extension, but pushed the government to expand the program.
This extension is aimed at allowing more businesses to access the support and aligns CEBA with the timelines of other federal government-support programs for business. The extension applies to any new applications for CEBA loans of $60,000, as well as to new applications from businesses that have already received the $40,000 loan and intend to apply for the additional $20,000.
“By supporting Canadian businesses, Canadian jobs and Canadian families, we are not only helping our communities through difficult times; we are preventing economic scarring,” says Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. “This support will allow us to have a full and robust economic recovery, when the virus is fully defeated. Extending the CEBA application deadline will allow more businesses to access this support and help them manage their operating costs during these hugely difficult times.”