Open Letter to Government: Extend CEBA Loan Repayment Deadlines

Small businesses in my Vancouver East riding are calling on your government to extend the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan repayment deadline, a measure which my New Democrat colleagues and I absolutely agree is a necessary measure.

The evidence is clear: according to your own government’s numbers, as of February 2023, fewer than 15% of all businesses who sought relief from CEBA loans had repaid the loan in full. The repayment date must be extended to ensure that small business owners have a fair chance to receive the benefits of the loan forgiveness and interest relief provisions of the loan.

Here in Vancouver East, and indeed across British Columbia, the health of small businesses is a primary determining factor in the health of our economy. 98% of all enterprises in BC are self-employed or small- to-medium businesses with fewer than fifty employees. One in ten people in our province are entrepreneurs. Small business is what business looks like in BC.

May 18, 2023

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Via email: [email protected]

Honourable Mary Ng
Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development House of Commons
Ottawa ON K1A 0A6
Via email: [email protected]


Dear Minister Freeland and Minister Ng,

Open Letter re: Extend CEBA Loan Repayment Deadlines

Small businesses in my Vancouver East riding are calling on your government to extend the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan repayment deadline, a measure which my New Democrat colleagues and I absolutely agree is a necessary measure.

The evidence is clear: according to your own government’s numbers, as of February 2023, fewer than 15% of all businesses who sought relief from CEBA loans had repaid the loan in full. The repayment date must be extended to ensure that small business owners have a fair chance to receive the benefits of the loan forgiveness and interest relief provisions of the loan.

Here in Vancouver East, and indeed across British Columbia, the health of small businesses is a primary determining factor in the health of our economy. 98% of all enterprises in BC are self-employed or small- to-medium businesses with fewer than fifty employees. One in ten people in our province are entrepreneurs. Small business is what business looks like in BC.

Although the public health impacts of the pandemic have eased, the truth is, the height of the pandemic lasted much longer than could have been reasonably foreseen in April 2020 when CEBA was first rolled out; coupled with the effects of supply chain issues, increased interest rates, and high inflation, it’s become much harder for many businesses to complete repayments than they surely planned.

Furthermore, about half of all small businesses are still generating below-normal revenues, especially in sectors like food and hospitality, arts, culture and sport, tourism, retail, and social services. Things are not really back to “normal” yet. The whole point of the CEBA program was to ensure small and medium enterprises would survive the pandemic, not to simply put off their closure to a later date.

New Democrats have argued consistently for CEBA loan extensions, and my colleague, MP Daniel Blaikie, NDP Finance Critic, was in the news calling for this second deadline extension in February of this year.

It was so disappointing then to not see a CEBA loan repayment extension included in the 2023 federal budget. I urge that you please take this step right away to give small businesses and entrepreneurs the relief needed to plan for their businesses’ survival. This needed action is so crucial for many business owners and entrepreneurs, for whom the pandemic recovery phase has really only begun at the start of this year. This extension needs to be put in place to ensure broad access to the loan forgiveness as well as the interest-free aspects of the loan; to better the likelihood that small businesses will survive and can plan to thrive, and to keep the economic strength and diversity of our small business community strong.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter and I will look forward to your response so that I may keep my constituents informed.

Sincerely,

Jenny Kwan
Member of Parliament for Vancouver East

Cc: MP Daniel Blaikie, NDP Critic for Finance
MP Richard Cannings, NDP Critic for Small Business

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East Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan told Postmedia that she thinks port police should be restored on the waterfront.

Kwan, who has a container terminal in her riding, said when the force was disbanded in 1997, she was an MLA and very critical of the decision.

“The port police should never have been disbanded. There are definitely ongoing implications,” Kwan said. “The port is the gateway for illegal activities in terms of people shipping illegal goods in and out. … that’s definitely an ongoing concern.”

“We absolutely support minister Farnworth and the municipalities’ call for the federal government to step back up and show leadership in addressing this concern and to fund the port police.”


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