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

Who is Eligible for a CEBA Loan? CEBA Eligibility

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Navigating the financial landscape in times of uncertainty can feel hard. Yet, because of the confusion, a beacon of hope emerges the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). Designed to support businesses during the unexpected twists and turns of an economic storm, CEBA is a federal loan program that helps small businesses.  But who is eligible for a CEBA Loan, and what should you know before applying? Let’s explore!

CEBA Loan Overview

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is a government-funded loan designed to help businesses in Canada stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. The maximum amount of the CEBA Loan is $60,000 and is interest-free through December 31, 2023. To apply for a CEBA Loan, businesses must meet all eligibility criteria set by the government or risk being denied.

Who is Eligible for a CEBA Loan?

There are two main streams regarding eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan.

  1. The Payroll Stream
  2. The Non-Deferrable Expense Stream

The Payroll Stream is designed specifically for businesses that reported employment income between Cdn.$20,000 and Cdn.$1,500,000 for the calendar year of 2019. Through this stream, CEBA effectively cushions the financial burden for businesses that have been significantly contributing to the economy by employing a considerable workforce. On the other hand, the Non-Deferrable Expense Stream caters to businesses that reported employment income of Cdn.$ 20,000 or less in 2019. Under this stream, businesses can apply for a CEBA Loan to cover eligible non-deferrable expenses such as rent, property taxes, utilities and insurance between Cdn. $40,000 and Cdn. $1,500,000. The Government of Canada must verify and audit these expenses before loan approval. Read more: How Does CEBA Loan Work? Now, if you want to apply for the CEBA Loan, make sure you meet the following criteria:

CRA Business Number

Your business must possess an active CRA Business Number (BN) registered on or prior to March 1, 2020. The CRA BN is a unique federal identifier for your business and an essential document when dealing with federal, provincial, or local government programs. If your business has not yet acquired this number, ensure that you register your business with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and obtain your BN before applying for the CEBA Loan.

Active Business Chequing/Operating Account

Having an active business chequing or operating account with the lending institution is another eligibility criterion for the CEBA Loan. This account must have been active at the time of the loan application. If your business doesn’t already have an active chequing or operating account, it is crucial that you set one up with your primary financial institution before commencing your CEBA application.

Previous Use of the CEBA Program

Your business should not have previously used the CEBA program, nor should it seek support from the program through another financial institution after initiating your application. This condition prevents duplication of financial aid and ensures fair distribution of resources among eligible businesses.

Intention to Continue Business Operations

Lastly, an important requirement is your intention to continue operating your business or resume its operations. The aim of the CEBA Loan is to provide financial relief to businesses hit by the pandemic and to boost their recovery. Therefore, if you are applying for this loan, you must have plans for the continued operation of your business. This is to ensure that the funding provided will contribute to your business’s resurgence and sustainability in the long run. Note that all of these requirements are not mere formalities. They are in place to ensure that the loans are granted to legitimate businesses that genuinely need financial aid to weather the storm caused by the pandemic. Therefore, to avoid being denied, businesses must ensure they fulfil all these criteria before applying for a CEBA Loan. In the case of the Non-Deferrable Expense Stream, you must feel the following criteria:

Eligible Non-Deferrable Expenses

Your business must have eligible non-deferrable expenses between Cdn. $40,000 and Cdn. $1,500,000. Eligible non-deferrable expenses include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. It is important to note that these expenses are subject to verification and audit by the Government of Canada before loan approval.

Filed an Income Tax Return with the CRA

You must also have filed an income tax return with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for either 2019 or 2018. This is to ensure that you are a legitimate business and that your loan application will be properly assessed and approved. If you meet all these criteria, you may apply for the CEBA Loan to access financial relief during this difficult time. It is important to always stay informed and research any programs available before applying, so you can make the best decision for your business. Knowing the essentials of who is eligible for a CEBA Loan before submitting an application will ensure that your business receives the support it needs. Read more: How to use CEBA Loan?


So, who is eligible for a CEBA Loan? We hope you got a better understanding of the criteria needed to apply for this loan program. Make sure to meet all eligibility requirements before submitting your application, and keep updated on any changes that may occur. With these tips in mind, you can give your business the financial help it needs during this difficult time!

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