During the declared COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 900,000 small businesses across the country accepted the federal government’s Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans, up to $60,000, to avoid sinking under sweeping COVID-19 restrictions and a stay-home-stay-safe ideology.
Fast forward to now, and approximately 250,000 of those businesses that have yet to repay the loans are in jeopardy, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).
After some pushback, the federal government announced that those who could repay the loan by the initial December 31 repayment date would have 33% of their loan forgiven, up to $20,000, and those who can’t come up with that amount would get a repayment extension date of a whopping 2.5 weeks, until January 18.
We sat down with freedom-oriented restaurateur Rebecca Matthews to discuss why even with loan repayments being termed out at 5% over two years, businesses like her Corduroy Restaurant in Kitsilano are unlikely to survive without an extension date for a significant amount of time.
Matthews first made headlines during lockdowns after refusing to comply with COVID-19 mandates that ordered her to discriminate against her unvaccinated patrons. Instead, Matthews fought to find a loophole and revamped her restaurant's operations accordingly to welcome all.
Matthews has started a social media page called The Sovereign Square to rally up small business owners to advocate for their own survival. The CFIB has started a petition you can sign here in an effort to push the federal government into significantly extending the repayment demands and continuing to include the forgivable portion.
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