Threshold changed for Canada Emergency Business Account loans, commercial rent help is coming

The federal government has changed the eligibility threshold for Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans. Previously, to be eligible, a minimum payroll of $50,000 and a maximum payroll of $1 million was required. During his media briefing Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government has now made CEBA available to businesses who spent between $20,000 and $1.5 million in payroll in 2019.

Trudeau says the changes will help address the challenges faced by small businesses to cover non-deferrable operating costs. To date, 195,000 small business loans have been approved through CEBA – worth $7.5 billion in credit. Banks are offering $40,000 loans under the program.

Feds working on commercial rental help

Prime Minister Trudeau also announced a Canadian Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program Thursday to help small businesses offset rent in April, May and June. The program will provide loans, including forgivable loans, to commercial property owners who in turn will lower or forgo the rent of small businesses for the months of April (retroactive), May, and June. 

The implementation of the CECRA program will heavily require on provincial agreements – which are responsible for property owner-tenant relationships. “We’re working with the provinces and territories to increase rent support for businesses that are most impacted by the pandemic and we will have more details to share soon,” said Trudeau.

The Canadians Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomed Thursday’s news. CFIB President Dan Kelly put out a statement saying it’s now up to provincial governments to offer additional financial support and ensure that commercial tenants won’t be evicted. “Other than Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, provincial governments have been slow to come to the table to offer support with rent despite the fact that it is provincial governments that have ordered SMEs to close,” CFIB said in a statement.

It went on to say that CFIB will be examining details of the program and working to ensure there is support for small business owners with commercial mortgages.  

Quebec make three requests for help

More federal help is on the way for Quebec as the province grapples with massive outbreaks of Covid-19 at its long term care homes.

Trudeau says the Canadian Armed forces and Canadian Red Cross will be available and they are finalizing an assistance plan for Quebec. Public Safety Minister Bill Blair received a request from Quebec Wednesday night for help in the province’s long term care facilities.

Trudeau says the armed forces received an “unusual request” from Quebec for the military to help in LTC homes. “We’ve received three requests in total from Quebec,” said Trudeau. Canadian Rangers will be sent to help in rural and remote areas. It wasn’t clear what the “unusual request” was.

Trudeau speaks with G7 leaders

Trudeau spoke with G7 leaders Thursday. The PM says it’s crucial to fight for vulnerable nations as well. He says Canada is contributing to international efforts to develop a vaccine. “This is a global crisis and it demands a global response.”

More to come…