In the dynamic city of Calgary, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. To provide critical financial support, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan program was implemented, offering interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to eligible businesses.
In this article, we’ll explore the impact of the CEBA Loan program on Calgary’s business community, the eligibility criteria, and the measures taken to ensure the fair distribution of aid.
CEBA Loan in Calgary
The CEBA Loan program emerged as a lifeline for countless businesses in Calgary, helping them weather the storm during the pandemic.
With the ability to access loans of up to $60,000, businesses could cover essential expenses, retain employees, and navigate the economic challenges posed by the crisis.
Eligibility Criteria for Calgary Businesses
To qualify for the CEBA Loan, businesses in Calgary must meet specific eligibility criteria set by the Government of Canada.
Key requirements included having an active business chequing or operating account and demonstrating eligible non-deferrable expenses ranging from $20,000 to $1.5 million in 2020.
As of October 26, 2020, the previous condition of having an active business account as of March 1, 2020, was removed, allowing eligible businesses to apply after opening an account with their primary financial institution.
Loan Forgiveness and Repayment
For eligible CEBA borrowers in good standing, repaying the loan balance on or before December 31, 2023, resulted in loan forgiveness of up to 33 percent (up to $20,000).
This gave businesses a much-needed incentive to repay the loan on time and alleviate financial burdens.
CEBA Expansion: Additional Financial Relief
On December 4, 2020, the CEBA program expanded, allowing approved borrowers to receive a $60,000 loan. Businesses already receiving the initial $40,000 CEBA Loan were eligible to apply for the CEBA expansion, offering an additional $20,000 in financing.
This expansion provided further financial support to businesses grappling with the prolonged impacts of the pandemic.
Application Period and Final Program Statistics
The application period for the CEBA program closed on June 30, 2021, and the funding period has now ended. As a result, no new applications can be submitted, and additional funding will not be provided by the CEBA program.
All eligibility criteria validations have been completed; the results are now final. The opportunity for further resolution has passed, and the CEBA program is no longer reconsidering applications.
Extensive Accessibility Across Canada
CEBA was available through more than 220 financial institutions across the country. This extensive accessibility ensured businesses in Calgary and beyond had multiple options to apply for the program, streamlining the application process and enabling businesses to access vital financial support efficiently.
Repayment Terms and Debt Forgiveness
For all applicants meeting CEBA eligibility criteria, the following repayment terms apply to both the $40,000 and $60,000 loans, as well as the $20,000 expansion:
- 0% per annum interest until December 31, 2023.
- 5% per annum interest starting on January 1, 2024.
Repayments and Maturity
- No principal repayment is required before December 31, 2023.
- If the loan remains outstanding after December 31, 2023, only interest payments will be required until the full principal amount is due by December 31, 2025.
- Suppose the outstanding principal, except for the potential debt forgiveness amount, is repaid by December 31, 2023. In that case, the remaining principal balance will be forgiven, subject to the condition that no default has occurred under the loan agreement.
These flexible repayment terms and potential debt forgiveness options aim to provide support and financial relief to businesses in Calgary, enabling them to manage their loan obligations effectively during these challenging economic times.
By offering interest-free periods and forgiving a portion of the principal for prompt repayments, the CEBA program aims to foster economic resilience and stability within the local business community.
Impact on Calgary’s Economic Resilience
The CEBA program has been crucial in nurturing Calgary’s economic resilience during challenging times. By supporting local businesses with loans, CEBA helped mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic on business operations, workforce retention, and overall economic stability.
Urgent Call for CEBA Loan Extension in Calgary
As the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues, hundreds of thousands of Canadian small businesses in Calgary find themselves relying on the federal government to provide an extension of the deadline to repay their Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans.
While the government’s effort to provide relief during the pandemic is commendable, the reality remains that these businesses were the most vulnerable to the economic downturn. Many of them are still in a precarious financial position and have been counting on the benefit of the forgivable portion of the loan.
A recent analysis by the Canadian Chamber SME Institute revealed that inflation, input costs, and interest/debt costs are the top three acute obstacles for businesses, with smaller firms being particularly constrained by debt.
The urgency of the repayment deadline prompted the Atlantic and Canadian Chambers of Commerce to address the issue with a joint letter to Finance Minister Freeland, signed by chambers from coast-to-coast-to-coast. However, individual businesses and non-profit loan holders also play a crucial role in making their voices heard. It is vital to reach out to local MPs and advocate for further extension and relief.
Small businesses are essential drivers of the economy, and supporting them through extensions and debt relief will foster a stronger and more resilient economic future for Calgary and Canada as a whole.
As Calgary strives to recover and rebuild in the post-pandemic landscape, the legacy of the CEBA Loan program continues to resonate throughout the city’s business community. The financial lifeline provided by CEBA has empowered businesses to adapt, innovate, and persevere during these challenging times.
While the application period for CEBA may have ended, its impact remains evident as businesses in Calgary continue to emerge resilient and determined to shape a brighter economic future.