Trudeau Announces Expansion to Eligibility Criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account

On May 19, 2020, Justin Trudeau announced an expansion to the Canada Emergency Business Account (“CEBA”), previously discussed in Rose Keith’s blog post dated April 16, 2020, found here.  CEBA is administered by Export Development Canada and provides a partially forgivable, zero interest loan of up to $40,000 for qualifying small businesses. Up to $10,000 of the loan is forgivable if it is repaid prior to December 31, 2022.  CEBA aims to assist small businesses that have seen a drop in their revenues due to COVID-19 and have ongoing costs that are not deferable.

Initially businesses were required to have a payroll between $50,000  and one million to qualify. This was then changed to businesses with payrolls between $20,000 and $1.5 million, and now further expanded to businesses with a payroll of less than $20,000.  In order to meet the expanded criteria, applicants with a payroll less than $20,000 must have a business operating account at a participating financial institution, filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and have a CRA business number, and have eligible and non-deferable expenses from $40,000 to $1.5 million. Examples of non-deferable eligible expenses include property taxes, utilities, rent, and insurance.

By expanding the criteria, CEBA will be available to more businesses that are sole proprietors, rely on contractors, or are corporations owned by families that pay employees through dividends and not by payroll. It is hoped that by expanding the eligibility criteria, the economy will be better equipped to recover in the future.  The launch date of the application for businesses who meet the new criteria has yet to be announced, but more details are expected in the coming days.

Changes to Provincial and Federal COVID-19 Benefits happen rapidly and often. We update our helpful Benefit Chart just as frequently. Stay current on the most essential benefits available by visiting our Chart. We’ll be posting on LinkedIn whenever it is updated. Or you can find it on the Harper Grey COVID-19 Resource Hub – check it out here.

Have questions regarding this topic?  This post was authored by Deanna Froese. Please don’t hesitate to contact her at or anyone else listed on the authors page.