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Federal Government Fall Economic Statement misses opportunity to extend CEBA loan repayment deadline for small business

(OTTAWA) November 27, 2023 — Last week, the federal government released its Fall Economic Statement. While there were some positive announcements for business, an extension to the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loan repayment deadline was not one of them.

"Now is not the time to recall loans for struggling businesses. In its Fall Economic Statement, the federal government chose to ignore every Premier of the provinces and territories, 250 business associations, and hundreds of thousands of business owners across our nation who are calling for an extension to the repayment deadline for CEBA loans," said Leslie Courchesne, CEO of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce. "Small business owners need to survive and recover from the effects of the pandemic, the extraordinary rising costs of doing business, supply chain disruptions, and other challenges. Calling in these loans too early puts many small businesses at risk of having to close their doors."

Courchesne is urging all Tri-Cities businesses and residents to support our local small businesses by signing the federal petition to extend the CEBA loan repayment deadline. The petition closes December 5, 2023.

The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, whose experts have analyzed the impacts of the 141-page Fall Economic Statement. The Canadian Chamber released the following on November 21:

Today’s Fall Economic Statement (FES) signals that the government heard the business community on issues such as addressing our housing needs and the importance of ensuring workers can work in any community where and when their skills are needed most. We all agree on the need for measures that will help build our homes, support businesses in finding the right talent, and ease the burden of doing business in Canada.

But more needs to be done, and Canada needs to move quickly. We applaud the intent of the government’s “delivery timeline” for investment tax credits for major decarbonization projects, but time has already been lost. We need to see carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) projects moving ahead, and the government still needs to deliver on the plans it first announced in 2021 and in subsequent Budgets and statements. Business urgently needs to be able to work with government to invest jointly in these projects so we can fuel green economic growth, achieve our net-zero ambitions, and catalyze the private sector investment that will help pay for the services and social programs Canadians need.

There were also some concerning developments – including that the speed with which the Government is trying to push through changes to our competition laws does not leave enough time to predict or understand their full effects. If enacted, these changes to the Competition Act would apply to all Canadian businesses and could have significant unintended consequences, including reduced investment and the punishing of pro-competitive business conduct. We’re calling for the government to consult meaningfully with stakeholders on the proposed changes to the Competition Act.

Canada still urgently needs a plan for growth. Next year’s budget must address a number of key measures that weren’t included in the Fall Economic Statement or the 2023 budget, including long overdue measures to modernize the tax and regulatory system, investments in trade-enabling infrastructure that will strengthen supply chains, and initiatives to foster an innovative economy, maintain our leadership in Artificial Intelligence, ensure widespread adoption of cybersecurity, and advance digital health.

Matthew Holmes, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Read more insights from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce here.

Read the full Fall Economic Statement here.

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Since 1971, the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce has been the largest business association serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Anmore, and Belcarra, now representing 1,300+ organizations from every sector. The Chamber works to foster economic development, provide connections and benefits, and influence public policy at all levels of government to ensure strong business and strong communities. The Tri-Cities Chamber is an active member of the BC and Canadian Chambers of Commerce.

For more information, contact:
Leslie Courchesne, Chief Executive Officer
Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce

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