The CEBA program has helped struggling businesses since the onset of the pandemic. A Government of Canada initiative designed to mitigate the impacts of lockdowns and other closures, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) offers business owners the cash they needed to survive. Now, the deadline for businesses to start repaying their CEBA funds is coming up, and many are wondering, asking: will CEBA be extended again?
CEBA was created to offer financial help to businesses during uncertain economic times. As post-pandemic recovery is still sluggish, there are discussions about whether or not to push back the deadline. For business owners affected, the outcome of this debate could significantly impact their ability to meet CEBA repayment timelines. However, others are still uncertain about what to do in advance of the deadline.
So, let’s discuss some of the factors we’ve seen so far!
Arguments for and Against Extending CEBA
Although business has picked up in hard-hit industries like restaurants and tourism, the post-pandemic environment is still challenging for businesses that saw a decline. With already slim margins in these industries pushed even further by inflation, many associations (such as Restaurants Canada or the Tourism Industry Association of Canada) are pushing for more time.
Business owners are still grappling with challenges. Revenues might have stabilized, but the pandemic continues to affect operations and financial stability. Additionally, a considerable number of businesses have not been able to reopen and may require ongoing support to recover—if they ever do. Two out of five tourism businesses will close if conditions continue, and bankruptcies in food service are up 127%.
Economic data suggests that extending CEBA could help in preventing a deeper recession. By providing additional financial assistance, businesses can stabilize and contribute to overall economic growth. Furthermore, many businesses still have various expenses directly related to COVID-19, such as implementing safety measures and adapting operations, which can necessitate continued support.
On the other hand, many worry about worsening inflation and suggest the government should be cautious about borrowing an excessive sum of money to finance these programs. The accumulation of debt can have long-term consequences for the national economy and people’s purchasing power. The affordability of further extensions needs to be considered, as these extensions come with additional forgiveness on loans. Governments must balance providing support to the economy and managing their spending, considering competing needs and priorities across various sectors.
When weighing these arguments for and against extending CEBA, policymakers face the task of finding a balanced approach: which may be why the Government of Canada has yet to make a statement on the possibility of an extended CEBA deadline. They must carefully evaluate the ongoing needs of struggling businesses while considering the potential consequences of increased debt and inflation. Achieving a comprehensive understanding of the economic landscape and prioritizing national needs are crucial in making informed decisions regarding these programs’ future and the Canadian economy.
Factors That Could Influence a CEBA Extension
In a bailout on a scale never before seen in history—over 885,000 Canadian businesses took out the CEBA loan—the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) provided significant financial support to small and medium-sized businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no comparable programs: previous bailouts were geared towards one enterprise, bank, or industry, deemed ‘too big to fail’. In this case, there are many businesses involved. Assessing whether an extension of this program is warranted requires consideration of several factors.
1. Ongoing economic impacts from COVID-19
The effects of COVID-19 on the economy are still happening, and they’re important to consider when deciding whether to extend the CEBA deadline. These effects include changes in the number of COVID-19 cases, which can affect how businesses operate and whether people can find jobs, and ongoing uncertainty about the economy in the short and long term, which can make it difficult for businesses to plan for the future.
2. Existing demand for CEBA
We can understand this by looking at how many businesses have already received loans through CEBA and how many have already been able to repay. However, given the loan’s interest-free period, many businesses likely have delays in repayment if they’re planning to refinance. Until the interest-free period ends, businesses are still eligible for loan forgiveness—so if loans are refinanced at a higher interest rate, it’s in their best interest to put the refinancing off for as long as possible.
Some banks or other financial institutions are pre-approving businesses for refinancing following the deadline. To capture the state of businesses looking to repay, it’s valuable to listen to the feedback from businesses that have benefited from CEBA. Their experiences can show us both the positive outcomes of the current support and any areas where improvements are needed for future actions, or survival.
3. Government priorities
The government has to balance different demands from various assistance packages they have in place. These competing demands from other programs can affect whether CEBA is extended or not. National budget limitations also come into play. The government has to manage the amount of money they have available for different purposes, including relief programs like CEBA, in order to best meet Canadian’s needs.
Will CEBA Be Extended Again: The Future of CEBA
The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) has been a critical support for struggling businesses, especially during uncertain economic times. However, whether CEBA will be extended again remains unknown. While CEBA has been a lifeline for many companies, the deadline will depend on the government’s assessment of ongoing financial needs and the availability of resources.
To better help struggling businesses, the government might consider adding more support measures or customizing existing programs for different industries. The future of CEBA, therefore, relies on the changing economy and the government’s decisions for the period moving forward.
In conclusion, no one is sure if the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) will be extended or not. Industry experts, researchers, and business associations alike have different opinions on this matter. Some believe that many businesses still need help recovering from the first global pandemic in modern history, and deserve ongoing support to get back on their feet. Others are concerned about government borrowing, which can lead to problems like inflation or the government struggling to pay off debts.
To decide if CEBA will be extended, policymakers will likely look at how COVID-19 affects the economy, how many businesses still need help, and the government’s priorities. They will have to find a balance between helping businesses and managing the country’s money—which means the future remains unclear at this point in time.