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WHITEHORSE – The Yukon Party Official Opposition is joining organizations such as the Yukon Chamber of Commerce, the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and Restaurants Canada, in requesting the federal Liberal government extend the current Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline. Businesses across Canada, including the Yukon, received this much-needed loan to keep their operations going during the pandemic.
Many small businesses are still not yet back on their feet. The combination of high interest rates, inflation, and increased labour costs limit small and medium-sized businesses still recovering from the pandemic. The government should find ways to reduce the cost of doing business and help these small and medium-sized businesses recover, not increasing costs and calling in loans.
“Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and many are still suffering after a disastrous past few years,” said Leader Currie Dixon. “Now is not the time to add to their cost of doing business. The federal government should extend the repayment deadline for CEBA loans to allow businesses to get their heads above water.”
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has released numbers from a recent survey of CEBA loan-holder companies. It found that 49 per cent of small businesses are still making below-normal revenues, and 50 per cent of Canadian food service operators are currently operating at a loss or breaking even compared to 12 per cent pre-pandemic. As well, 45 per cent of Canada’s tourism businesses are likely or somewhat likely to close within the next three years without government intervention into their mounting debt load.
On July 24, over 280 industry associations from across Canada signed a letter urging the extension. Dixon has also written a letter to the federal finance minister outlining the Yukon Party’s support for the request from businesses.
The CEBA repayment deadline is currently set for December 31, 2023.