One week until the CEBA repayment deadline: Sadly, no last-minute reprieve expected for small business

Toronto, January 11, 2024 – With one week left until the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline on Jan. 18, it’s highly unlikely the federal government will provide small businesses more time to repay their loan in order to keep the forgivable portion, warns the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). 

“Following many conversations with government, I’m convinced there won’t be any last-minute extension to the current January 18 deadline,” said Dan Kelly, CFIB president. “For business owners who remain eligible, now is the time to repay if you possibly can. There’s only one week left to repay the loan while securing the up to $20,000 forgivable portion. And with over 900,000 small businesses holding CEBA loans and 22% not in a position to repay at this time, this decision has huge implications for Canada’s economy.”

CFIB has been flooded with calls from panicked small business owners who are struggling to repay their loans and getting inconsistent answers and little help from government and banks. Here are a few things CEBA loan holders need to know:

  • If you are looking to borrow to repay your CEBA loan and keep the forgivable portion, you need to apply for a refinancing loan with the bank that issued your original CEBA loan before January 18, 2024, to qualify for a special extension to March 28, 2024. As bank staff often do not understand these rules, CFIB recommends small business owners ensure they document any requests or applications for refinancing.
  • If you are rejected for refinancing from your CEBA bank, you will still qualify for the extension to March 28, 2024, as long as your account is in good standing. This provides some extra time to look for alternative financing. 
  • If you remain eligible but cannot repay or borrow to repay your loan, you will lose the forgivable portion, but you will have three years until the end of 2026 to repay the balance at 5% interest.
  • For approximately 50,000 small businesses that have been deemed ineligible for the loan they received and spent, they have already passed their deadline of December 31, 2023 and have lost access to the forgivable portion. Collection efforts will begin in the spring of 2024. After extensive pressure from CFIB, the government announced it will provide new flexibility for these cases, including up to a two-year repayment period with no penalties and 5% interest.

CFIB continues to advocate for fairness in the winding down of one of Canada’s largest small business support programs, namely pushing the government for a three-year repayment plan for those deemed ineligible and a fresh process to review files with minor errors like an incorrect business number. CFIB also calls on Ottawa to ensure those businesses who have just learned they are ineligible don’t lose out on the forgivable portion of the loan if they are in fact eligible.  

“With the increase in payroll taxes (EI and CPP) on January 1, this is not a good start to 2024 for small businesses. This is all the more reason for Ottawa to reduce the cost of doing business and alleviate some of the cost pressures facing small firms. The federal government can start by returning the $2.5 billion in carbon tax revenue it promised to small businesses as soon as possible,” said Corinne Pohlmann, Executive Vice-President of Advocacy at CFIB.

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

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

Final results for the Your Voice – December 2023 survey, conducted from December 7-19, 2023, number of respondents = 3,142. For comparison purposes, a probability sample with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of at most +/-1.7%, 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