New Democrats urge Liberals to push back CEBA deadline for Northern Ontario’s small businesses

With the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan repayment deadline less than a month away, Canada’s NDP is urging, once again, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland and Minister for Small Business Rechie Valdez to extend the repayment deadline and loan forgiveness.

While the Liberals are pushing small businesses to repay their loans, they’re handing out $21.6 billion in contracts to large consulting firms. In November, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that a reduction of outsourcing by just four per cent would cover the costs of extending the CEBA deadline. The NDP says instead of delivering relief for small businesses that risk going under without an extension on their CEBA loan, the Liberals are giving a pass to massive ultra-rich corporations.

“Small businesses in Northern Ontario are the hub of our communities, a lifeline for our local economy, and jobs,” said NDP’s Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay). “Yet, the Liberals are letting down our communities and small businesses struggling to keep their doors open. Shop owners have gone through a global pandemic and now are dealing with a cost-of-living crisis. But the Liberals won’t cut them a break while having no problem giving billions to big profiting consulting firms.

“And make no mistake, Pierre Poilievre is not the answer. He and his corporate-controlled Conservatives say they’re in it for you and yet remained silent while small businesses crumble under their CEBA debt.”

In a letter to the government, the NDP highlighted that Medicago, an ultra-wealthy company, got a $400 million government loan to produce vaccines that were never made and was asked to pay back a mere 7.5 per cent of the loan.

While huge corporations get leniency from the government, small businesses are getting little flexibility from the Trudeau government. For months, the Canadian Federation of Small Businesses (CFIB), small businesses, Canada’s NDP, and every premier from across the country have been calling for a year-long CEBA extension to keep businesses afloat. The Liberals have refused, while Pierre Poilievre and the Conservatives have been completely silent on the matter.

“New Democrats believe in supporting small businesses and local workers during tough times,” said NDP’s Carol Hughes (Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing). “Once again, we’re calling on the Liberals to extend the CEBA loan deadline with the forgivable portion so that small businesses in Northern Ontario can make it through the new year.”

Ontario NDP