Media Releases Apr 16, 2020

CEBA expansion and commercial rent program positive steps, but many SMEs still cannot benefit says Canadian Chamber

(OTTAWA, ON) – April 16, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement regarding updates to the CEBA program and new help for commercial rent:

“The Prime Minister today expanded the eligibility for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) to businesses with payrolls as low as $20K and as high as $1.5M.

Relaxing the payroll eligibility criterion is a positive step, one that will help more small and medium businesses. However, we continue to advocate that the government consider removing payroll criteria from the program to ensure that any business that needs bridge financing can access this desperately needed assistance.

In addition, we remain concerned that defining payroll as that provided via T4 excludes many entrepreneurs from qualifying.  Many small business owners pay themselves through dividends (T5) and have only contractors as employees. The government should expand the definition of payroll to capture the ways different types of business calculate it.

Many businesses who meet the criteria outlined in the program are being denied financing. We urge the government to work closely with Canada’s financial institutions to ensure that all businesses receive the financing they need.  Earlier in this crisis, the government expanded the list of financial institutions eligible to deliver the CEBA to include credit unions.  We encourage the government to expand this to alternative financial institutions, which many SMEs rely upon.

The Prime Minister also announced the creation of the Canadian Emergency Rent Assistance program to help businesses pay rent for April, May and June. Rent constitutes one of the most significant fixed costs for businesses, and their ability to pay is an important factor in remaining in operation and keeping Canadians employed. We welcome the news and look forward to learning the details of the program. We are pleased the government is extending assistance directly to Canadian landlords.

As with all of the emergency programs, execution in getting the funds into the hands of business remains the key measure of success. Every day of delay leads to more job losses and businesses permanently closing their doors. We must act fast to help our businesses.”

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor