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Farmers to benefit from changes to Canada Emergency Business Account

Farmers without payroll can now access the $40,000 interest-free loan available under the Canada Emergency Business Account.


May 20, 2020
By Fruit and Vegetable

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Changes have been made to a government relief program so farmers without payroll can now access the $40,000 interest-free loan available under the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

“Today’s announced expansion of the eligibility to the Canada Emergency Business Account is a big deal for farmers across the country,” said Marie-Claude Bibeau, federal minister of agriculture and agri-food in the announcement.

“We listened to their concerns, and changed the eligibility to ensure farmers without payroll can now access the $40,000 interest-free loan available under CEBA – up to $10,000 of which is forgiven if the rest is repaid by December 31, 2022.”

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“We listened to their concerns, and changed the eligibility to ensure farmers without payroll can now access the $40,000 interest-free loan available under CEBA – up to $10,000 of which is forgiven if the rest is repaid by December 31, 2022.”

Launched on April 9, 2020, the CEBA provides zero-interest, partially forgivable loans up to $40,000 to small businesses that have experienced diminished revenues due to COVID-19, but face ongoing non-deferrable costs such as rent, utilities, insurance, taxes, and employment costs. Twenty-five per cent of this loan is forgivable if repaid by December 31, 2022.

When first launched, the CEBA was designed to allow for rapid deployment of credit to businesses with 2019 payroll between $50,000 and $1 million. The government then expanded the eligibility parameters of the program, by increasing the payroll eligibility range to between $20,000 and $1.5 million.

Since the CEBA’s launch, over 600,000 loans have been approved, representing a total of more than $24 billion in credit.

On May 19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an expansion to the eligibility criteria for the CEBA to include many owner-operated small businesses that operate with payroll under $20,000.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

However, this still left out many farmers. Minister Bibeau says now the eligibility has been changed to include farmers without payroll so they can still access the loan.

“Farmers can be assured that we have their back, and we are continuing to roll-out supports for our agriculture sector,” Minister Bibeau said.

For those farmers who are still unable to access CEBA, they can turn towards the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.