Government doesn’t budge on CEBA changes just ahead of application deadline

Editor’s note: The federal government announced an extension of the application window through the Ministry of Finance on August 31.

The deadline to apply to the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) is Monday, August 31. With just days to go before the application window closes, many in agriculture, including producer groups, are calling on the government for clarification on what expenses qualify, and for added changes to the program so that it’s applicable for more farms.

It’s been clear since the beginning that the CEBA program was designed for small businesses and not farms specifically, but farmers are not alone in their critiques and frustration of the program. The original account was designated for only those with a certain level of payroll, however, the government did eliminate the payroll requirement so long as the business had $40,000 in eligible expenses in 2019 and held a business account at a financial institution on March 1, 2020.

Farmers and small businesses that run through a personal bank account are then ineligible — even though they have other documentation such as HST/GST numbers and more — and many who have applied for the account are discovering that a large portion of their expenses do not qualify for the necessary $40,000.

Jeff Nielsen, chair of the Grain Growers of Canada, says that government has not been forthcoming with more information, and that there’s no official word on what happens if, after Monday, an application is denied — will there be a chance to appeal?

Interesting challenge — it wasn’t really designed for farmers, it was designed for small business. But many farmers are small businesses

Related: CEBA loan criteria change could increase farm eligibility

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Categories: COVID-19 / News / Stability Programs