Start date for expanded CEBA eligibility in Canada has been delayed
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) was expanded several weeks ago to include more small businesses, but the start date for the extended program has been delayed.
The expanded CEBA program will provide eligible businesses with interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $40,000.
The program was due to launch on Friday, June 19, but has since been delayed indefinitely.
Small businesses that were included in the extension such as sole proprietors, farmers, and businesses who use contractors or pay themselves through dividends must now wait to receive financial support.
To ensure the expanded Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program can properly launch across 230+ financial institutions, there will be a slight delay in the roll out of the application process. #CEBA #EconomicResponse #COVID19 https://t.co/n0CaRyPywS— FinanceCanada (@FinanceCanada) June 19, 2020
The Canadian government announced the delay just one day before the expanded program was due to launch.
"The expanded #CEBA will no longer launch tomorrow," Finance Minister Bill Morneau said on Twitter late Thursday. "Work continues around the clock to ensure the program can securely launch across over 230 financial institutions."
An update on the government website says that there will be a "slight delay" to the program in order to ensure that the IT infrastructure is safe and secure.
"Details on the new launch date will be provided shortly," the website says.
The expanded #CEBA will no longer launch tomorrow. Work continues around the clock to ensure the program can securely launch across over 230 financial institutions. We know how important the program is to small businesses & want to launch as quickly as possible. Updates to come.— Bill Morneau (@Bill_Morneau) June 19, 2020
Dan Kelly, President of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), took to social media to call the delayed start date "deeply disappointing."
"Perhaps it is time to drop the letter "E" out of the CEBA program name," Kelly wrote. "A program designed to help small businesses survive an emergency should not require the very smallest to wait over 3 months before they can even apply."
He added that many small businesses in Canada were counting on Friday's loan as a "lifeline."
Spent much of the day in touch with business owners disappointed about the delayed expansion of CEBA. So many small firms were counting on this loan as a lifeline to keep their businesses alive.— Dan Kelly (@CFIB) June 19, 2020
Multiple Canadians have taken to social media to express their concern over the delay of the expanded program.
"I can't roll one more mile unless we get help out of this mess we have been put in," one person wrote. "My income was reduced due to shutting down the county and I didn't make enough to pay for repairs, now I'm at a standstill until we get help."
"Do we even know the timeline?" another asked. "Many businesses are just days away from their last breath."
CFIB gets a lot of messages like this. CEBA and CECRA need fixing now. The E stands for Emergency not Eventually! https://t.co/I4uYEJZeWJ— Dan Kelly (@CFIB) June 19, 2020
The CFIB also released an open letter on Friday urging the government to further expand CEBA by upping the loan to $60,000 and increasing the forgivable portion to 50 per cent.
"We cannot emphasize how importance this is," the letter says. "Over half of small businesses say meaningful rent relief could make the difference between surviving or having to shut down."
"It is critical to get rent support to those businesses that need it and don't yet have it, and to ensure that support continues beyond June."
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