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Feds expand criteria for interest-free small business loans

May 20, 2020  By Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (edited)

The federal government has expanded qualifying criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). More farm businesses will now qualify for the interest-free loan to help cover operating costs during the pandemic.

“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,” says federal minister of agriculture and agri-food, Marie-Claude Bibeau.

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.

Application will be through financial institutions. More details, including the launch date for applications under the new criteria, will follow.

“For those farmers who are still unable to access CEBA, they can turn towards the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund,” adds Bibeau. “Farmers can be assured that we have their back, and we are continuing to roll-out supports for our agriculture sector.”

To date, over 600,000 small businesses have accessed the CEBA.

Other federal pandemic measures recently announced for agriculture include:

  • a $3 billion wage top-ups for essential workers delivered through provinces and territories,
  • $50 million for first-of-its-kind surplus food purchase program,
  • $77.5 million to help reopen or upgrade processing facilities and improve worker safety,
  • $20 million to ensure capacity and safety of Canadian Food Inspection Agency inspectors,
  • $50 million to help farmers safely welcome seasonal and temporary foreign workers,
  • $5 billion in added capacity to Farm Credit Canada
  • $173 million in deferred Advance Payment Program loans for cattle, grain and flower producers
  • $100 million Agriculture & Food Business Solutions Fund to offer financial support to businesses
  • $100 million for food banks and local food organizations to help food security.
  • Authorizing 75% wage subsidy for businesses suffering significant revenue declines
  • Launched the Step up to the plate employment portal and marketing campaign
  • Working with provinces to the increase of Agri-Stability interim payments to 75%
  • Working with provinces to treat labour shortages in the horticulture sector as an eligible risk under AgriInsurance
  • Expanded Canada Summer Jobs program to prioritize workers in the food supply chain

For information on the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF):


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