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Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Application Deadline: June 30, 2021

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What Is CEBA?

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is a loan of up to $60,000 (up to $20, 000 is forgivable). This program is legislated by the Federal Government, administered by Export Development Canada (EDC) and delivered through financial institutions with the intent of helping businesses pay their non-deferrable expenses during this challenging period. The CEBA has two streams of eligibility: the Payroll stream and the Non-Deferrable Expense stream. If you previously received a loan of up to $40,000, you can apply for the CEBA expansion to increase your loan by an additional $20,000 ($10,000 of which is forgivable if repaid before Dec 31, 2022).

Important notice:
March 22, 2021: Government announces an extension of the CEBA deadline from March 31 to June 30, 2021.

You can find a list of past CEBA updates in the CEBA timeline.

Program Overview                   FAQ                  
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CEBA Overview

How much your business can receive:

  • CEBA: Your business can receive a loan of up to $60,000. If you repay the balance on or before December 31, 2022, your loan will be interest-free with 33% forgivable (up to $20,000).
  • CEBA expansion: If your business has already qualified for a CEBA loan, you can receive an expansion of $20,000. If you repay the balance on or before December 31, 2022, your loan will be interest-free with up to $10,000 forgivable.

Each financial institution determines the form of their CEBA loan. For example, the loan may come to you via a credit card, line of credit, or term loan as defined in the terms and conditions. Contact your financial institution if you have further questions or concerns.

Program duration: April 9, 2020 to June 30, 2021

How to apply: Apply through your financial institution. See the list of providers on the CEBA website.

Application Deadline: June 30, 2021

Document upload deadline: April 9, 2021. If you are resubmitting documents the deadline is May 7, 2021.

Eligibility criteria: See the FAQ below for details.

Stay informed! Get all your CEBA updates as soon as they become available. If you’re not a CFIB member and would like to receive the CEBA updates by email, please subscribe to our email list.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is my business eligible for CEBA and its expansion?
Your business must meet all of the eligibility requirements listed below to qualify for CEBA. If you meet these requirements, you must determine if your business is eligible for either (1) the Payroll Stream OR (2) the Non-Deferrable Expense Stream.
CEBA eligibility requirements:
  • You have an active CRA Business Number (BN) with an effective registration date on or before March 1, 2020.
  • You have an active business chequing/operating account with your financial institution. If you currently don’t have a business chequing/operating account, you must create one at your financial institution before applying for CEBA.
  • You have not previously used CEBA and will not apply for CEBA at any other financial institution
  • You intend to continue to operate your business or to resume operations
  • You are willing to participate in post-funding surveys conducted by the government or any of its agents
Payroll stream eligibility:
  • You must have a total employment income paid in the 2019 calendar year between $20,000 and $1.5 million (found on your T4 Sum).
Non-deferrable expense stream eligibility:
  • You must have eligible non-deferrable expenses for the year 2020 totalling between $40,000 and $1,500,000. For more details on what is an eligible non-deferrable expense, see below.
  • You must have filed an income tax return with the CRA for the tax year ending in 2019, or if your tax return for 2019 has not yet been submitted, 2018.

Note: if your business did not have any returns to file with CRA in 2018 or 2019, you may be able to still file your returns with zero or “nil” owed online in your CRA My Business Account portal. Please consult your tax practitioner to see if this might apply to your situation.

CEBA expansion eligibility requirements:
  • If you have received a CEBA loan, you must apply for the CEBA expansion at the same financial institution that funded your $40K CEBA.
  • You also need to sign a self-attestation of having experienced a revenue drop due to COVID-19. This will look slightly different across all financial institutions.
What is an eligible non-deferrable expense?

Eligible expenses are those incurred in January or February 2020. They are due (legally or contractually) as of March 1, 2020 and cannot be deferred beyond 2020.

The eligible non-deferrable expenses fall into nine categories:

  • Employee wages (included on a T4 slip)
  • Arm’s length (third-party) independent contractor invoices formalized between January 1 and February 29, 2020
  • Payroll taxes
  • Benefits (e.g., pension, insurance coverage)
Rent or lease payments for real estate
  • Formalized commercial tenancy agreements

This excludes:

  • Partial business rent, or
  • Lease agreements for real estate used for home-based businesses
Payments incurred for business insurance-related costs
  • Property insurance
  • Professional liability insurance
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Business interruption insurance
Business rent/lease for capital equipment
  • Capital equipment used for business purposes such as:
    • Machinery
    • Computer equipment
    • Furniture
    • Vehicles
    • Tractors

This excludes:

  • Fuel for capital equipment unless it is stipulated on an agreement or contract
  • Capital equipment that was purchased outright
Payments incurred for property taxes Property tax bill dated 2020
Utility payments incurred by the business Contract signed before March 1, 2020 for:
  • Telephone
  • Utilities such as:
    • Gas
    • Oil
    • Electricity
    • Water
    • Internet

This excludes:

  • Proportional business use utility payments will not be included unless the agreement or contract is in the operating company’s name.
  • Strata/condo fees
Payments for regularly scheduled debt service
  • Lending agreement dated before March 1, 2020 with a contractual end date on or after January 1, 2020.
  • Invoice from lender dated in 2020.

What is excluded or unacceptable through the CEBA application portal:

  • Financial institution statements
  • Credit card statements or receipts
  • Business financial statements (e.g., profit/loss statements)
  • CRA payment notices
  • GST/HST payment notices
Payments incurred under agreements with independent contractors and fees required in order to maintain licenses, authorizations, or permissions necessary to conduct business by the borrower All below agreements and invoices must be due or dated (legally or contractually) from January 1, 2020 to March 1, 2020. Please note that this list is not exhaustive.
  • Professional dues for licensed professionals
  • Fishing licenses
  • Taxi medallions
  • Software licensing and subscriptions
  • Patent fees
  • Accounting invoices
  • Legal service invoices
  • Security expenses
Payments incurred for materials consumed to produce a product ordinarily offered for sale by the borrower. Input materials that:
  • Are consumed
  • Are transformed
  • Become part of the product that is ordinarily offered for sale

Examples of this include raw materials for the production of your product such as:

  • Ingredients
  • Seed
  • Livestock feed

This excludes:

  • Finished goods’ inventory
  • Work-in-progress inventory
  • Purchases of capital assets
  • Fertilizer
How to apply for CEBA
If you have not yet received CEBA If you have already received CEBA

1. Fill out the pre-screen questionnaire

2. Find a financial institution that provides the CEBA loan (if necessary)

3. Open a business bank account (if necessary)

4. Apply for either

  • The Payroll stream

    You can apply for CEBA under the payroll stream through your financial institution. 233 financial institutions provide CEBA across Canada.

    Once your application is submitted, Export Development Canada (EDC) will assess it and inform your financial institution of the loan’s approval or denial. If approved, your financial institution will provide you with the funds.

  • Non-deferrable expense stream:

    When applying for CEBA under the Eligible Non-Deferrable Expense Stream, you must follow a three-step process:

    Step 1. Complete the online Pre-Screen Tool. This tool determines if you are eligible, so that you can decide whether to open a business account (if you don’t already have one) before applying for CEBA at your financial institution. If you are declined at this step, you can still apply for CEBA (though your chances of receiving a loan are low) and must complete the following two steps.

    Step 2. Ready to apply? Contact your financial institution where you hold your business chequing / operating account. They will direct you to the last step of the application process.

    Step 3. Gather your documents. Once you complete your application through your financial institution gather supporting documentation for all your Eligible Non-Deferrable Expenses (receipts, invoices and agreements). Use the CEBA Document Upload Website to submit that information and complete the application.

5. Sign your agreement to the loan


Attest to several items, including that your business was negatively affected by COVID-19 measures.

6. Wait to receive CEBA funding


Things to remember after you receive CEBA:

  • Include the CEBA forgivable portion as income in the year you receive the CEBA loan for tax purposes
  • Repay your loan before December 31, 2022, to get the forgivable portion


1.Apply for the CEBA expansion at the financial institution that funded your CEBA. No additional documentation is required

2. Sign your agreement to the loan


Attest to several items including that your business was negatively affected by COVID-19 measures


Things to remember after you receive CEBA:

  • Include the CEBA forgivable portion as income in the year you receive the CEBA loan for tax purposes
  • Repay your loan before December 31, 2022 to get the forgivable portion
Where can I find the status of my CEBA application or the reason for my CEBA rejection?

Go to the CEBA application status website and enter the following information:

  • The name of the financial institution through which you applied for CEBA
  • Your 9-digit CRA business number
  • The applicable T1, T2, T2 Short, or T4 summary used in your application.

If you have recently applied for CEBA, please allow at least five business days before checking your status.

Note: The information available on the application status website is the same information available through the CEBA Call Centre.

The CEBA self-service application status guide will take you step-by-step through the website.

Can I join a different financial institution to get the CEBA?

Yes, you can apply for CEBA with a different financial institution. We recommend that you complete the CEBA pre-screen tool before opening a new business account to apply for CEBA (some financial institutions require this step). If you want to make a switch, consider our partner Scotiabank, who offers CFIB members exclusive discounts.

If my financial institution stops offering me their financial services, can they discontinue my CEBA?

EDC has stated that any instances of this should be brought up through the CEBA call centre (1-888-324-4201) as an escalation. Once a CEBA loan has been deposited into an account by the Government of Canada through a financial institution, the financial institution is not allowed to discontinue the loan or refuse a CEBA expansion.

If you are not certain of your CEBA loan status, check the CEBA Application Status Website or call the CEBA call centre at 1-888-324-2401.

If your bank is not allowing you to get your CEBA after it was approved, please share your story with us at [email protected].

Are CEBA and the CEBA expansion taxable?

Yes, and no.

For both CEBA and the CEBA expansion, only the amount of the loan that was forgivable in the year it was received is taxable. The rest of your CEBA funding is considered a repayable loan. You do not need to include it in your revenue. You can declare your forgivable loan portion to the CRA in one of two ways:

(1) As revenue in your tax return. Elect to include the forgivable loan amount in your business income the year you receive CEBA.


(2) As a business expense. Reduce the deduction for your business expense by the amount of the forgivable loan.

Need more advice? Contact your accountant or the CRA to get accurate advice on your CEBA reporting requirements.

What if I receive an email saying that my CEBA expansion application was “not successful”?

You may receive an email stating that your application was not successful as additional information is required regarding your CRA Business Number. This is not uncommon. If you get one of these e-mails, you should:

  • Double-check that your CRA Business Number information is correct in your CEBA application.
  • Ensure that you applied to the right CEBA stream. If you accidentally applied to the payroll stream, get your non-deferrable expenses ready to try to apply to the non-deferrable expenses stream when your financial institution contacts you. If you have not heard from your financial institution by the end of February, check your CEBA status online or contact the CEBA call centre at 1-888-324-4201. If you are in this situation, please share your story with us at [email protected].
What if I am not eligible for CEBA?

If you are not eligible for CEBA, the federal government has funded other loan alternatives:


- Programs if you have less than 40K of non-deferrable expenses or 20K of payroll:


The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) 
The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund is $1.486 billion distributed by Canada’s 6 Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in the form of:

  • $1.05 billion in CEBA-like loans, called Regional Relief and Recovery Fund loans
  • $431.3 million in Community Futures Development Corporations programs, which target small businesses and rural communities across the country

Programs vary in each RDA and applications are now available. Some RDA programs can supplement other government relief, while others are only available if you were denied other COVID-19 relief. Keep reading to find the RDA programs that apply to you.

What are the Regional Development Agencies (RDA)?

  1. Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency (ACOA) - NS/NB/PE/NL 
  2. Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) - QC
  3. Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency - YT/NT/NU
  4. FedDev Ontario - Southern Ontario
  5. FedNor - Northern Ontario
  6. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) - AB/BC/MB/SK

Community Futures. If you are not eligible for the RRRF, contact your local Community Futures program to determine if you are eligible for their RRRF plan.


- Programs if you have more than $1.5 million in non-deferrable expenses or payroll expenses:


Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)

BCAP consists of multiple loan programs aimed at helping businesses impacted by COVID-19. The program includes:

  • BDC Mid-Market Financing Program: Loans range between $12.5 million and $60 million;
  • BDC Co-lending program for small- and medium-sized businesses: loans range between $1 million and $12.5 million;
  • EDC Loan Guarantee for small- and medium-sized businesses: Your financial institution determines the loan amount;
  • AccordExpress Program for small businesses: loans range between $20,000 and $250,000.

Visit our BCAP hub page for more information.

If you still fall through the cracks of COVID relief programs, please share your story with us at [email protected].

What if I am eligible for CEBA, but got rejected?
  1. Check your status on the CEBA Application Status Website or call the CEBA Call Centre. If you have already applied for CEBA and have questions, do not call the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as the CRA does not administer CEBA. Instead, contact the dedicated CEBA Call Centre at 1-888-324-4201. If you need to confirm your CRA Business Number information, CRA’s Business Enquiries line can help you at 1-800-959-5525.

    What you can ask the CEBA Call Centre:

    • What is the status of my application?
    • Why was my application declined?
    • Why was my submitted document rejected?

    If no one is available to take your call, you can leave a message. An agent will return your call within three business days, Monday through Friday, from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm EST.

    CEBA expansion validations may take longer than usual. After applying you may have no choice but to wait for your financial institution to let you know when to reapply.

  2. Call your financial institution's customer service line or branch line to be assigned to an account manager. They can walk you through your application and help you determine the reason for your rejection. Email [email protected] and include:
    • Your legal business name (according to your financial institution)
    • The name of your financial institution
    • A summary of your situation
    • Your contact information

    You can also share your situation with a CFIB Business Counsellor at 1-888-234-2232 or by email at [email protected].

If I am rejected for CEBA, can I apply until I am accepted?

If you are rejected due to a need to update your financial institution’s profile, you may need to wait 24-48 hours for the update before you apply again.

If you are rejected due to an inputting error, you can apply again.

Other CEBA Resources

How is CFIB advocating for small business on CEBA?

What we have achieved:

  • We pushed for the government to increase CEBA to $60,000 from the original $40,000.
  • We worked to get the government to expand access to businesses using personal accounts – which they have now done.

What we’re pushing for:

  • Immediately include new firms.
  • Make it easier for small firms without a formal payroll to access CEBA, including those with less than $40,000 in non-deferrable expenses.
  • Further increase the amount forgiven to 50%.

How you can help:

  • Join our push for better relief measures by signing our COVID-19 petition.


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