Four out of five small businesses found recent CEBA changes unhelpful: 87% need an extension of the forgivable deadline to end of 2024

Toronto, September 28, 2023 – An overwhelming majority (80%) of small businesses did not find the federal government's changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline helpful, reveals new data from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“All summer, small business owners from across the country have been telling MPs they need an extension in the deadline to repay CEBA loans in order to keep the forgivable portion. Ottawa has been told the scope of the problem, government has been told what’s at stake. Unfortunately, their pleas fell on deaf ears,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “The government gave small business owners false hope by announcing a one-year extension. But the extra year is only for those who miss out on the $20,000 forgivable portion, which small businesses are desperate to retain. The deadline to repay the loan while securing the forgivable portion was only moved by 18 days, from December 31, 2023, to January 18, 2024. This announcement completely missed the most immediate priority of Canada’s small business community.”

The majority of small businesses (87%) said an extension of the forgivable deadline to the end of 2024 would be greatly beneficial to their business. CFIB’s survey results also show:

  • One-third (34%) can repay their CEBA loan on time, another third (30%) will borrow funds to access the forgivable portion, while the final third (30%) has no means to secure a loan for repayment.
  • Among businesses planning to borrow funds to cover their CEBA debt, more than half (61%) will pursue financial institution refinancing, and one in five (19%) will use home equity.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) expect difficulties in meeting the current forgivable deadline of January 18, 2024.

CFIB is pushing the federal government to further extend the forgivable deadline for the CEBA loan to the end of 2024. To date, CFIB’s petition calling for an extension has garnered over 46,000 signatures from small business owners across Canada.

“Ottawa’s announcement left small business owners scrambling, trying to decide between losing the forgivable portion or taking another loan at a much higher interest rate in order to secure the forgivable portion,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Executive Vice-President at CFIB. “Ottawa still has the ability to fix the problem. It just has to do it – and do it quickly.” 

Business owners can visit CFIB’s website for more information on the CEBA announcement and their financing options.

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

The data referenced in this news release was gathered through a CFIB online survey - CEBA Repayment Changes Survey. Preliminary results for September 21-28, 2023, are based on responses from 5,900 CFIB members who are owners of Canadian independent businesses, from all sectors and regions of the country. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of at most +/-1.3%, 19 times out of 20. 

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at