Canada's NDP


January 16th, 2024

NDP calls on Liberals to help local businesses with a CEBA repayment extension as deadline looms

Powell River, BC — As the deadline for small businesses to pay back their Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan looms on January 18th, Canada’s NDP MPs Rachel Blaney (North Island—Powell River) and Gord Johns (Courtenay—Alberni) are reiterating their call on the Liberal government to extend the repayment and the loan forgiveness deadline to give small businesses—still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and cost-of-living crisis—time to get back on their feet.

A recent report revealed 4,000 Canadian restaurants could close shop without an extension to repay their loan with partial loan forgiveness intact. The Liberals have refused to grant a meaningful extension despite handing out $21.6 billion to large consulting firms. In December, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that a reduction of this out-of-control outsourcing by just four per cent would cover the costs of extending the CEBA deadline—something the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), local businesses, and every premier in Canada have called for.
“Sarah McClean, owner of Point Group Hospitality, says that the last two summers were her business’s least profitable due to wildfires, preventing her from repaying her CEBA loan,” wrote Blaney to the Minister of Finance last week urging her to extend the CEBA deadline. “And Sarah is not alone: while over 77 per cent of BC’s food and accommodation businesses received CEBA loans, only a quarter of those businesses were able to repay them by the end of 2023.”
Over the last year, the NDP have called for a year-long extension to give small businesses a chance to thrive again. The NDP wrote three letters, including last week, to the Minister of Finance to ask for relief for small businesses. The NDP also introduced a private member’s motion to extend the loan forgiveness deadline to the end of 2024.
Last September and December, Johns called on the prime minister in the House of Commons to extend CEBA loan deadline.
“While the Liberals are turning their backs on small businesses, the Conservatives have been completely silent on the issue,” said Johns. “They clearly don’t care about local workers and their communities. Our main streets can’t become deserted due to Liberals inaction and letting small businesses fail after a tough few years. New Democrats are calling on the government to take urgent action to save our local shops from going under.”

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