CFIB statement on Canada Emergency Business Account eligibility expansion

Toronto, May 19, 2020 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomes today’s announcement that the federal government will expand the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) program to include businesses with no payroll. For many weeks, CFIB advocated with government to expand this $40,000 interest-free loan program to more businesses, particularly some of the smallest businesses currently excluded as they cannot demonstrate a 2019 $20,000 payroll. 

CEBA loans have been a lifeline to many small firms, particularly as 25 per cent of the loan (up to $10,000) is forgivable, helping them cover some of their fixed expenses. It is good news that family businesses that pay themselves in dividends, those that employ contractors (e.g. gyms) or those that rent chairs (e.g. salons) will soon be able to access the program. It is critical that this expansion of the program be rolled out as quickly as possible, as the firms that were excluded have gone two months with little assistance and are now facing another rent deadline of June 1st. 

It is also encouraging to hear that new businesses and those with personal bank accounts will soon be included through a separate stream of the program. We stand ready to work with government on ensuring the details of this program work for small business owners.

With many provinces now looking towards reopening their economies, small businesses will need ongoing support to get through the months ahead. CFIB has recommended to the government that it increase the total amount of the CEBA loans and the forgivable portion. The initial $40,000 may not be enough for many businesses who continue to be shut down or those facing a long recovery period. Further expansions for firms with a 2019 payroll above $1.5 million should also be considered.

CFIB also continues to advocate for important changes to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program. Too many businesses will go without the help they badly need because they have no way to access the assistance if their landlord does not participate. CFIB has asked the government to allow commercial tenants who are eligible to access the 50 per cent government portion of the program directly if their landlord does not wish to participate.

Business owners who need help parsing provincial guidelines or the programs that may be available to them can now access CFIB’s tools, services and expert advice for free at We urge all small businesses to add their voice to ours through our weekly COVID-19 surveys to ensure governments provide them with the programs and support they need as they navigate the coming months. 

- Dan Kelly, President, Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB)

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Milena Stanoeva, CFIB

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 110,000 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