As many small businesses across Canada are struggling to keep the lights on as the world continues to contend with the COIVD-19 pandemic, a measure of help may finally be on the way.
On March 27, the federal government announced additional measures to support businesses and not-for-profits. More information on Canada’s COIVD-19 Economic Response Plan, can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/economic-response-plan.html
A number of lenders have subsequently been in consultation with the government on these measures, designing them specifically to help small and medium sized employers with their most pressing needs and position our economy to recover. As a result, the government has now launched the new Canada Emergency Business Account, which has been implemented by eligible financial institutions in cooperation with Export Development Canada (EDC). The Emergency Business Account will help to ensure that small businesses have access to the capital they need to see them through the current challenges.
New loan accounts offered under the Emergency Business Account will provide interest-free funds of up to $40,000 guaranteed by the Government to eligible small businesses and not-for-profits, to help cover their operating costs during a period where their revenues have been temporarily reduced. These government guaranteed loans will be offered interest-free until December 31, 2022. Twenty-five percent of the loan amount ($10,000) is eligible for forgiveness as long as the business pays back $30,000 on or before December 31, 2022. If the business cannot pay back the loan by December 31, 2022, it can be converted into a 3-year term loan at an interest rate of 5%
Businesses or not-for-profits will be eligible to apply for this loan if they have:
- an operating company registered in Canada on March 1, 2020;
- an active business chequing/operating account with a participating lender, which is its primary financial institution that was:
- opened on or prior to March 1, 2020
- not in arrears by 90 days or more as at March 1, 2020
- annual payroll of between $20,000 and $1,500,000 as evidenced by the organization’s 2019 T4 Summary of Remuneration Paid (T4SUM);
- a 15-digit Canada Revenue Agency Number also shown on the T4SUM;
The funds from these loan are available to be used by the borrowers to pay non-deferrable operating expenses including, without limitation, payroll, rent, utilities, insurance, property tax and regularly scheduled debt service, and may not be used to fund any payments or expenses such as prepayment/refinancing of existing indebtedness, payments of dividends, distributions and increases in management compensation.
More information on Canada’s Emergency Business Account, including how to apply, can be found at https://ceba-cuec.ca/
If you or your business needs assistance navigating its interactions with financial institutions, to respond to the COVID-19 crisis or otherwise, contact Tony Anderson or one of the other lawyers in Owen Bird’s Financial Services practice group.