Advocacy efforts to extend the CEBA repayment deadline appear to be working. The Chamber and our national network along with many other business organizations are calling on the federal government to give businesses more time to repay without losing the forgivable portion of their CEBA loans.
Chamber Chair Kris Wirk said in a September media release that “The reality facing many small businesses — especially those in hospitality, tourism and retail — is that they have a viable path to making a full recovery but it’s going to take longer than expected.”
This week, federal Small Business Minister Rechie Valdez told BNN Bloomberg that she's heard the message and seen the struggles facing businesses firsthand. She promised to go back to government to do more.
Under the Canada Emergency Benefits Account, businesses that needed help during the pandemic were offered loans of up to $60,000. Part of the appeal was that one third of the loan would be forgiven if paid by the deadline, which was extended from Dec. 31 to Jan. 18. And while 2024 seemed like a long way off in the depths of the pandemic, unforeseen challenges with inflation and interest rates has kept many businesses from fully recovering.
Chamber member Megan Johns, owner of The Green Kiss explained the situation succinctly to CBC, noting that she was on schedule with her CEBA loan until operating costs began to soar faster than her business could grow.
"Margins are getting smaller and smaller and smaller due to the rising costs across the board," Johns said. "Every aspect of the business has become more challenging and it is more challenging now than it was in 2020 so far."