Local groups are lining up behind MP Richard Cannings as he pushed the federal government to extend the deadline for repayment of business loans issued during the pandemic.
Cannings, who represents South Okanagan-West Kootenay, asked for relief in a letter to the finance minister sent Monday from his post as the NDP’s critic for small business and tourism.
Loans granted under the Canadian Emergency Business Account must be repaid by the end of the year in order to qualify for forgiveness of up to 33% and avoid a 5% interest penalty.
“Small business owners across Canada have done everything right, but they’ve been hit with one thing after another. It’s nearly impossible for businesses to keep up with their rents or mortgage owners on top of their regular operating costs,” said Cannings in a press release.
The release included quotes from Michael Magnusson, executive director of the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce, who noted businesses are being hit hard by rising interest rates, and John Dorn, past president of the Summerland branch of the Royal Canadian Legion.
Dorn said seven of 17 branches in the region took out CEBA loans to survive the pandemic and suggested the federal government go a step further and consider forgiving the loans outright.