Tri-Cities Chamber calls on federal government to push back CEBA loan repayment

Federal government is looking to collect loans from 900,000 businesses
Image via Christiann Koepke/Unsplash.

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is hoping to give local businesses more time to pay back their loans. 

The association, who represents more than 1,000 organizations in the Tri-Cities, Anmore and Belcarra, is calling on the federal government to push back the deadline for businesses that took out a loan from the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) by two years. 

The federal government launched CEBA in 2020 to help businesses that were struggling to keep their doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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Under the program, small businesses and non-profit organizations were eligible to receive interest-free loans of up to $60,000. The deadline to repay the debt with up to 33 per cent (or $20,000) loan forgiveness is Dec. 31, 2023. 

Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce, wrote in a statement that a combination of factors were preventing businesses from paying back their loans.

“The lasting effects of the pandemic, and continued challenges including disruptions to supply chains, rising inflation and interest rates, labour shortages, and more are making it very difficult for many businesses to repay their CEBA loans by the end of 2023,” Courchesne stated. 

The application period for CEBA closed in June 2021. Nearly 900,000 businesses were approved for loans, and the government spent over $49 billion on CEBA. 

The letter, which has been signed by over 250 organizations across Canada, cited a recent Canadian Chamber of Commerce study of more than 15,000 businesses. 

The report found 49 per cent of small businesses are making below pre-pandemic revenues, and half of the foodservice organizations surveyed are struggling to break even or operating at a loss. 

Courchesne called on the federal government to push back to the deadline to the end of 2025. 

Earlier this month, the Tri-Cities Chamber independently called on the government to extend their CEBA deadline.


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