OTTAWA – Criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account is being expanded to help more people amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday the changes mean more companies will be able to take advantage of the program.
“If you are the sole operator of a business, if your business relies on contractors, or if you have a family-owned business and you pay employees through dividends, you will now qualify,” he said.
That means hair salon owners who contract out chairs to stylists and physiotherapists who rent out space to others can now get access to the funding, which is aimed at helping businesses struggling amid the pandemic.
The CEBA is a $25-billion program that provides interest-free loans of up to $40,000 to small businesses and not-for-profits to help cover their operating costs.
“Businesses like yours are the backbone of our economy, and the lifeblood of our communities,” Trudeau said. “Whether it’s with the CEBA or the expanded Wage Subsidy, we’re in your corner.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has welcomed news of the expansion of the CEBA, saying it’s been advocating with the federal government to make changes in order to help more businesses.
“CEBA loans have been a lifeline to many small firms, particularly as 25 per cent of the loan (up to $10,000) is forgivable, helping them cover some of their fixed expenses,” the CFIB says in a release. “It is good news that family businesses that pay themselves in dividends, those that employ contractors (e.g. gyms) or those that rent chairs (e.g. salons) will soon be able to access the program. It is critical that this expansion of the program be rolled out as quickly as possible, as the firms that were excluded have gone two months with little assistance and are now facing another rent deadline of June 1st.”
Meanwhile, the CFIB continues to push for changes to the Canada Emergency Rent Assistance program, saying “too many businesses” don’t have access to it unless their landlords participate.
The federation is asking the government to allow commercial tenants who qualify for the program to get the 50 per cent break on monthly rent provided by the government if their landlord doesn’t want to participate.