The Government of Canada has announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses. This extended measure will help small businesses protect the jobs that Canadians rely on, said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau May 20.
Changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest-free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic. “Canadians are counting on us to protect their jobs and help them pay their bills during this difficult time,” said Justin Trudeau. “By expanding the CEBA, we will be giving more businesses access to the support they need, so they can help protect workers and the jobs they rely on. Today we are helping to keep more businesses open and more Canadians working, so we are better prepared for the recovery to come.”
The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.
To qualify, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
- A business operating account
- A Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return
- Eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.
Expenses will be subject to verification and audit. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions. Over 600,000 small businesses have accessed the CEBA to date.
“It is critical that this expansion of the program be rolled out as quickly as possible, as the firms that were excluded have gone two months with little assistance and are now facing another rent deadline of June 1st,” said Dan Kelly, president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
The program initially launched on April 9 and provides zero-interest, partially forgivable loans up to $40,000 to small businesses. Twenty-five per cent (up to $10,000) of the loan is forgivable if repaid by Dec. 31, 2022.
The CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada, which is working closely with Canadian financial institutions to deliver the loans.