House of Commons must address small business debt and support program gaps before closing for the summer

Toronto, June 21, 2021 – With the House of Commons set to close for the summer in the coming days, the federal government must quickly resolve some of the biggest issues still plaguing its small business support programs and address rising debt levels, says the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This includes further expanding the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and freezing the wage and rent subsidies at their current levels until the economy can fully reopen.

“On average, small businesses have taken on $163,000 in COVID-related debt, and many don’t have a clear path to repaying it. This will be the next big obstacle small business owners have to face, even as they reopen, and they don’t have the option to take the summer off and deal with it in the fall. They need action from the government now,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly.

Nearly half (46 per cent) of businesses are worried about their survival given the debt they have taken on. To help them bridge to better times, CFIB is asking the government to:

  • Allow new businesses to access all of the federal support programs as was promised by the Prime Minister over one year ago 
  • Keep the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) at their current subsidy levels beyond July 3rd and extend the subsidies beyond September
  • Expand CEBA to $80,000 with a 50 per cent forgivable portion
  • Extend the CEBA repayment deadline beyond the end of 2022
  • Make a portion to the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) forgivable

“CFIB data shows that even with full utilization of federal and provincial support programs, subsidies are covering only about one-third of the losses small firms are facing. A lot of businesses are hanging on by their fingernails as lockdowns and restrictions across the country have lingered much longer than originally anticipated” added Kelly. “They need more time to get back on their feet and transition from subsidies to sales. The federal government can’t wait until fall to deal with the threat that small business debt levels pose to their survival.”

Small business owners can sign CFIB’s petition calling for critical changes to the federal support programs.

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 95,000 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