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

A Guide to Options for CEBA Repayment: Simplifying the Process

Options for CEBA Repayment
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Navigating your way through the maze of CEBA loan repayment can feel like a difficult task. But fear not, because we are here to turn the complex into simple, the chaotic into calm. Welcome to your go-to guide on the various options for CEBA repayment, simplifying the process, one step at a time.

About CEBA Loan

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is a Government of Canada loan program designed to assist small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. From the onset of the pandemic in 2020 through 2021, CEBA provided interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to support the immediate financial needs of these enterprises.

Loans provided through CEBA were administered through Canadian banks, which allowed funds to be disbursed quickly. The program offered businesses a way to meet financial obligations even during the lockdown. CEBA loans had a payment deadline of December 2022 (later extended to December 2023), and a loan forgiveness incentive that offered up to $20,000 to those businesses who met the deadline to repay.

Both the interest-free period and the loan forgiveness incentive were meant to offer flexibility to struggling businesses post-pandemic. In an uncertain global economy, CEBA was designed to help businesses survive cash flow shortages caused by lockdowns, while also planning for long-term sustainability.

Since every business faces different challenges, CEBA repayment options were flexible enough to be tailored to each entity’s circumstances. This approach ensures more businesses receive the support that suits their needs, rather than a one-size-fits-all solution. However, it is essential for businesses taking advantage of the CEBA program and its repayment options to clearly understand the terms set out in the loan and the best ways to repay.

CEBA Loan Repayment for Active Businesses

Repaying a CEBA Loan may seem overwhelming for businesses actively trying to grow revenues or recruit customers, but with the right planning, it can be manageable. According to the guidelines, the repayment deadline to qualify for the forgiveness is set on December 31st, 2023, which still gives business owners time to prepare their finances.

The CEBA loan has no prepayment penalties. This means businesses have the freedom to repay the loan early, depending on their financial capacity. Payment of the non-forgivable portion of the loan (in full) prior to the deadline makes a business eligible for forgiveness, no matter when this payment is made.

Payments can be made at any time through partnering financial institutions, and each payment made will reduce the balance of the remaining loan. Maintaining open communication with your bank or credit union and inquiring about any adjustments or additional information throughout the repayment process is important. Businesses who think they may be unable to repay the loan by the deadline can potentially refinance it and still take advantage of the loan forgiveness.
Now, this does mean contacting your financial institution in advance. By staying organized, planning ahead, and keeping the lines of communication open, businesses can effectively manage their CEBA loan repayment and work towards a favorable method of repaying the loan.

Read more: How Does CEBA Loan Work?

CEBA Loan Repayment for Closed Businesses

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has been a lifeline for many businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, what happens if a business closes its doors?

Unfortunately, closing the business does not automatically write off the loan. If a business decides to close, whether due to financial challenges or other reasons, they are still responsible for fulfilling their loan obligations. Unless they file for bankruptcy, which will have its own rules, the business can’t just write off the loan. Failure to repay can result in the seizure of assets or legal action against the borrowers.

Businesses seeking alternative repayment methods should consider 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, in some cases, there are preferable methods of repayment, 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, so plan accordingly to meet the repayment threshold to ensure the lowest possible cost overall.

In this situation, closed businesses should reach out to their financial institution for guidance and assistance. Contacting their financial institution as soon as possible is crucial as they can provide timely advice in navigating the repayment process. Closed businesses should still understand their repayment obligations and explore potential options.
When reaching out to their financial institution, closed businesses can explain their situation and seek help in developing a repayment plan. Financial institutions are there to assist and work with businesses to find a solution that suits their needs, especially given the situation surrounding the loan.

CEBA Loan Forgiveness

Taking advantage of CEBA loan forgiveness is essential for businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially given the current economic circumstances and the impact of inflation. If a business repays 66% of its $60,000 loan amount on or before December 31, 2023, they qualify for forgiveness of the remaining 33% or up to $20,000. If the business borrowed $40,000 and repays $30,000 on or before December 31, 2023, they qualify for forgiveness of the remaining 25%, or up to $10,000.

These qualifying criteria for a CEBA loan aren’t the typical requirements for underwriting a loan. They represent government efforts to keep businesses running in an unprecedented financial time. This means that business owners looking to refinance the loan might be subject to more stringent requirements. For example, government CEBA loans didn’t specify that the funds were for a specific purpose, but financial institutions laid out these terms loosely when administering the loan.

When refinancing, these same institutions might check to see that the loan funds have been used to cover expenses directly related to the operation of the business. This ensures the funds were utilized for their intended purpose and supports the business’s ongoing operations, giving the lender more security in the loan.
Loan forgiveness can provide much-needed relief and financial support for business owners, whether it’s accessed by direct repayment or refinancing the loan. In either case, it’s important to stay on top of deadlines, plan ahead, and ensure compliance with the loan requirements.

CEBA Loan Default

After December 31, 2023, the CEBA loan converts to a 2-year term loan bearing interest at 5%. If a business fails to meet its repayment obligations after January 1, 2024, it will be considered in default on its CEBA loan.
When a business defaults on its loan, the financial institution that provided the loan will reach out to discuss potential options for repayment. This conversation involves discussing the consequences of defaulting on the loan and exploring alternative arrangements that can be made.

One consequence of defaulting on a CEBA loan is its negative impact on the credit score of the business owner or the business itself. A lower credit score makes securing future loans or lines of credit more challenging. Depending on the severity of the situation and any collateral associated with the loan, the lender may issue demand letters, garnish revenue and seize assets.

To avoid defaulting on a CEBA loan, businesses should prioritize repayment and communicate with their financial institution if they encounter difficulties. By fulfilling their repayment obligations, businesses can maintain a positive credit history and avoid potential legal complications.


In summary, CEBA provided interest-free loans to help Canadian businesses alleviate financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a business owner, it’s important to know the requirements and deadlines of the loan to avoid default and claim loan forgiveness. As the deadline approaches, it’s essential for businesses to be proactive in finding a repayment plan to meet their financial needs.

Navigating the complexities of CEBA loan repayment, particularly during business closure, can be challenging. However, with careful planning, diligent repayment management, and regular communication with financial institutions, businesses can fulfill their obligations effectively.

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