We are writing today with a call to action regarding Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”) loans. We have been advocating to the federal government to provide a further extension of the repayment and partial loan forgiveness deadline that is looming on 18 January 2024. We were hopeful that Minister Freeland was going to announce such an extension during her fall economic update last month, but that did not happen.


We have also met with local MLAs regarding this issue and were pleased to see a joint letter issued by the Premiers of Canada seeking additional time for businesses to repay the CEBA loan without losing the benefit of a forgivable portion.


With the deadline just over a month away, our Chamber is supporting a petition launched by the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce and MP Jenica Atwin have directed at the Government of Canada to extend the deadline for an additional year.


A recent analysis of over 15,000 Canadian businesses found that inflation, input costs, and interest/debt costs are the three most acute obstacles faced by business (at 56%, 40% and 38%, respectively), and the smaller the firm, the more constrained they are by debt.


Moreover, recent surveys focused on CEBA loan-holder companies reveal that:

  • 49% of small businesses are still making below normal revenues;
  • 50% of Canadian foodservice operators are currently operating at a loss or breaking even compared to 12% pre-pandemic; and,
  • 45% of Canada’s tourism businesses are likely or somewhat likely to close within the next three years without government intervention into their mounting debt load.


At the local level, we are hearing from members that this deadline will have a material impact on their business and require further relief. For further background, read this column by the Fredericton Chamber of commerce.


While the CEBA loan repayment may not be an issue for many of you who do not own businesses, but we would ask that you consider signing the petition anyway as a show of support for your community businesses that have been slower to recover from the pandemic.


Click here to sign the petition.