Close this search box.

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is an initiative of the Government of Canada.  The official Government website is

Can’t Pay Back CEBA by the Interest-free Deadline? Here are the Consequences!

Can't Pay Back CEBA by the Interest-free Deadline
Reading Time: 9 minutes

If the thought of repaying your Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan feels like a heavy cloud looming overhead, you are certainly not alone. It’s like an unwelcome dinner guest who has overstayed their welcome, an echo of uncertain times that still lingers. But do not fear if you can’t pay back CEBA! The world of finance is not as black and white as it may seem. There’s always a way out, even from the seemingly inescapable labyrinth of debt. So, let’s navigate this journey together.

Understanding CEBA

what is CEBA

The Canada Emergency Business Account, also known as CEBA, is an initiative put forth by the Federal Government of Canada. This loan program, at its heart, is a lifeline for small businesses and non-profit organizations that have been negatively affected by the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic. CEBA offers interest-free loans of up to a whopping $60,000, providing crucial liquidity support to businesses in these challenging times.

The most notable feature of CEBA is its potential for loan forgiveness, which further mitigates the economic pressures on businesses. This unique provision means businesses aren’t solely shouldered with the burden of repayment, providing significant relief during an unpredictable economic climate.

The CEBA program’s eligibility extends to entities with an active business account before March 1st, 2020. This account must have been in operation with a financial institution that is participating in the program.

To unlock the full benefits of CEBA and to gain a nuanced understanding of its repayment details and other specificities, we recommend consulting with your local bank. The expertise of banking professionals can be instrumental in helping you navigate the terms of the program and maximize the benefits of the CEBA loan. Remember, knowledge is power; in this case, knowledge could mean the difference between keeping your business afloat or not during these trying times.

CEBA Repayment for Active and Inactive Businesses

Business can't pay back CEBA

The repayment terms for the CEBA loan vary depending on the circumstances and status of the borrower’s business. Here are the details that you should be aware of:

CEBA Repayment for Active Businesses

Repayment of the CEBA loan may seem like a daunting task, especially for businesses that are actively focused on expanding their customer base and bolstering their revenues. However, with careful planning, it is entirely manageable. According to the guidelines, the deadline for repayment to qualify for loan forgiveness falls on December 31st, 2023 giving business owners ample time to strategize their financial plans.

Notably, the CEBA loan does not carry any prepayment penalties, providing businesses with the flexibility to repay the loan early, based on their financial bandwidth. Making a full payment of the non-forgivable portion of the loan prior to the deadline ensures eligibility for loan forgiveness, regardless of the timing of the payment. Payments can be made at any point through partnering financial institutions and each payment directly reduces the outstanding balance of the loan.

Open lines of communication with your financial institution are essential during this repayment process. Regularly inquiring about any changes or new information is advisable. This could include potential changes in repayment plans or the possibility of refinancing the loan. By staying proactive in their financial planning and maintaining transparent communication with their bank or credit union, businesses can effectively manage their CEBA loan repayment process and strategize a favorable method for repaying the loan.

Refinancing the loan could be a viable option for businesses that anticipate difficulties in repaying the loan by the specified deadline. This, however, will require reaching out to your financial institution in advance. Remember, proactive planning can make all the difference between a manageable repayment plan and potentially overwhelming debt. With careful organization, advance planning, and open communication lines, active businesses can not only manage their CEBA loan repayment but may also be able to leverage it to their advantage.

CEBA Repayment for Inactive Businesses

For businesses forced to close down due to the pandemic, the CEBA loan repayment may not be as easy to pay back as an active business. Unfortunately, closing the business does not automatically write off the loan. The harsh reality is that even if a business decides to close due to financial challenges or other reasons, they are still held accountable for fulfilling their loan obligations. The only exception would be if they file for bankruptcy, but even this route has its own rules and consequences. Therefore, it’s crucial to remember that businesses can’t simply write off the outstanding loan.

Failure to repay the loan has serious implications and can result in the seizure of assets or legal action against the borrowers. Therefore, businesses seeking alternative repayment methods should seek financial or legal advice. Just because the business has closed doesn’t mean they are exempt from repaying the funds they borrowed through the CEBA program.

However, don’t let the situation discourage you. There are viable methods of repayment that you can explore, especially if the situation is addressed in advance. To be eligible for up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness, closed businesses must repay $30,000 if they borrowed $40,000 and $40,000 if they borrowed $60,000.

Solutions such as refinancing, selling assets, or personally guaranteeing a loan can all be methods of CEBA repayment for a closed business. Therefore, prudent planning is required to meet the repayment threshold and ensure the lowest possible cost overall.

In this situation, closed businesses should reach out to their financial institution for guidance and assistance. Contacting your financial institution as soon as possible is crucial as they can provide timely advice in navigating the repayment process. It’s important to understand your repayment obligations fully and explore all potential options.

When reaching out to your financial institution, you can explain your situation and seek help in developing a repayment plan. Financial institutions are there to assist you and work with you to find a solution that suits your needs, especially given the situation surrounding the loan.

Consequences if You Can’t Pay Back CEBA by the Interest-free Deadline

What if you can't pay back CEBA?

So, what happens if you can’t pay back CEBA by December 31, 2023? The CEBA loan agreement has explicitly outlined the terms and conditions for such a scenario. The CEBA is an interest-free loan until December 31, 2023, a feature aimed at mitigating the financial burden on struggling businesses. You won’t be charged any interest if you manage to repay your loan by the said date, which makes for a smart financial move.

Accruing Interest Post the Interest-free Period

However, if you cannot repay the loan in its entirety by the deadline, the terms of the agreement change. Specifically, any principal amount that remains unpaid after December 31, 2023, will begin accruing interest. This interest won’t be just a nominal amount; it will be charged at a rate of 5% per annum.

As such, businesses that are unable to repay their loans within the interest-free period will face an additional financial burden in the form of interest charges. Therefore, businesses must strategize their finances and repayment plans with this deadline in mind, to avoid getting caught in the interest charges of 5%.

Financial Responsibilities Post-January 1, 2024

But what happens if you still owe money on your CEBA loan on January 1, 2024? If you find yourself in this position, it’s crucial to understand the financial responsibilities that come into play. From January 1, 2024, you are required to make monthly interest payments. These payments are calculated based on the outstanding balance of the loan and the annual interest rate, which is 5%.

Loss of Loan Forgiveness and Repayment Deadline

One of the most significant implications is that you won’t be eligible for any loan forgiveness. This means that the entire principal amount of the loan will need to be repaid. The deadline for this repayment is December 31, 2025.

Flexibility in Repayment Options

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The CEBA loan terms also offer some flexibility. You have the option to repay the remaining loan balance at any time without incurring penalties. This means that if you have the cash available, you can make payments in installments, or if you prefer, you can pay off the entire amount borrowed in one lump sum.


In conclusion, it’s crucial for businesses to understand that the CEBA loan, while a lifeline in tough times, is still a financial obligation that requires careful planning and strategic repayment. The consequences of non-repayment can be significant, but with proactive communication and assistance from your financial institution, you can navigate this complex process. Remember, financial resilience often lies in informed decision-making and proactive planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if CEBA loan is not repaid?

If the CEBA loan is not repaid by the interest-free deadline, the remaining principal amount starts accruing an interest of 5% per annum from January 1, 2024. You lose eligibility for loan forgiveness, meaning the entire principal needs to be repaid by December 31, 2025. However, the loan terms allow flexibility to repay the remaining balance anytime without penalties.

Is CEBA loan repayment extended?

As of now, there’s no extension to the CEBA loan repayment deadline. The terms stand as they were initially outlined. It’s important to note that repayment by the interest-free deadline (December 31, 2023) prevents interest accrual, maintaining the availability of loan forgiveness. But the moment the calendar flips to January 1, 2024, the interest-free period concludes, and interest starts accruing at a rate of 5% per annum. Full repayment must be completed by December 31, 2025, to avoid penalties.

Can I pay off my CEBA loan earlier than the deadline without penalties?

Yes, the CEBA loan terms do provide some flexibility. You can choose to repay the remaining balance of the loan at any time without incurring any penalties. This means you can make payments in installments or even pay off the entire amount borrowed in one lump sum as per your financial convenience.

Share the Post:

Related Posts

Don't Miss the Final Deadline of March 28 2024 to Qualify for Up to $20,000 in Government Forgiveness

Don't Miss the Final Deadline of March 28 2024 to...

Refinancing can reduce your repayment costs and leverage forgiveness options for your Canada Emergency Business Account loan. Find details on…
Essential Tips for Effective Small Business Cash Flow Planning

Essential Tips for Effective Small Business Cash Flow Planning

Struggling to keep the cash flowing in your small business? Streamlining cash flow is crucial to survival and growth. This…
A Guide to Refinancing Your CEBA Loan Before March 28, 2024

A Guide to Refinancing Your CEBA Loan Before March 28,...

This comprehensive guide aims to demystify the process of CEBA refinancing, ensuring you have all the information needed to make…


This website uses cookies to provide necessary site functionality and improve your online experience. We never collect any personal data. By using this website you agree to the use of cookies as outlined in our Cookie Policy