Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to include many owner-operated small businesses.
The federal government established the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) on April 9, 2020, as part of the federal government’s $25 billion loan program for Canadian small businesses.
CEBA provides zero-interest, partially forgivable loans up to $40,000 to small businesses that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19, but face ongoing non-deferrable costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, and employment costs. Twenty-five per cent of this loan is forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022.
When first launched, the CEBAwas designed to allow for rapid deployment of credit to businesses with 2019 payroll between $50,000 and $1 million. The government then expanded the eligibility parameters of the program, by increasing the payroll eligibility range to between $20,000 and $1.5 million.
The CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada through Canadian financial institutions to deliver the loans to their existing business banking customers.
As per the government, the 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.
NEW EXPANDED ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR CEBA
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 under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:
- a business operating account at a participating financial institution
- 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.
According to the government, expenses will be subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada. Funding will be delivered in partnership with financial institutions.
More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, is yet to be announced.
Since the CEBA’s launch, over 600,000 loans have been approved, representing a total of more than $24 billion in credit.