Some help for Canada's Small Business owners was the focus for the MP from Skeena-Bulkley Valley on Tuesday in the House of Commons, with MP Taylor Bachrach calling for an extension on the deadline of payments for the Canada Emergency Business Account financial arrangement known as CEBA loans.
As part of a statement from Tuesday to go with his call in the House of Commons, Bachrach outlined some of the background to the Federal Government's loan program.
In April of 2020, the federal government introduced CEBA to help small businesses forced to close or limit their operations due to public health measures. The program offered interest-free loans backed by the federal government.
The government-set repayment deadline for CEBA loans is December 31, 2023, but three years after the pandemic started, only 15 percent of recipients businesses have been able to make full repayment.
“The Canada Emergency Business Assistance loans allowed them stay afloat during some of the toughest financial times our country has seen. But for many, revenue hasn’t yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, and they face the cost of inflation and a tight labour market.”
The MP Bachrach raised his question after hearing from a constituent who owns Grizzly Jim’s general store in Topley BC.
“There’s a simple way the finance minister can support small businesses like Grizzly Jim’s: extend the CEBA loan repayment period by an additional year"
According to data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB), 49 percent of small businesses are still making below normal revenues, with those in hospitality, arts and recreation, retail and social services hit the hardest.
Mr. Bachrach's House of Commons call can be reviewed below:
In addition to his question in parliament, Bachrach sent a letter to Federal Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng, asking for the deadline for repayment of CEBA loans be extended by one year. Bachrach is adding his voice to other NDP MPs who have been consistently arguing for CEBA loan extensions.
The Skeena Bulkley Valley has joined in on the call with NDP finance critic Daniel Blaikie who previously called for a loan extension, and in May, MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East) wrote a letter to ministers Freeland and Ng echoing the request.
As the NDP members note, the government has made no move to act on the concerns of small business owners, who play a vital role in Canada’s economy.
“The owners of these businesses are finding it harder than expected to repay their loans. The concern is that if the repayment period is not extended, the closure of vulnerable businesses will not have been prevented, only postponed.”
More on the work of the Skeena-Bulkley MP can be reviewed through our archive page here.
Notes on the Northwest Business Sector can be explored here.