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Advocacy Update

September 11, 2023

3-minute read
Written by Jamil Ahmed, Policy and Research Analyst

Extending CEBA Loan Repayment Deadline for the Success of Winnipeg Businesses

The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce has joined forces with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to advocate for extending the current Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) repayment deadline. This joint effort aims to provide much-needed relief to our local businesses, allowing them the time and flexibility to recover from the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic.

In a recent letter addressed to The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, the industry associations representing businesses across Canada have urged for an extension of the CEBA repayment deadline by either two years to the end of 2025 or at least by one year, while retaining access to the forgivable portion. With nearly 900,000 CEBA loans approved nationwide, this extension is essential for businesses that have faced unprecedented circumstances beyond their control.

Statistics indicate that these financial pressures are indeed significant. A recent analysis revealed that inflation (55.8%), rising costs of inputs (40.3%), and escalating interest rates and debt costs (34.3%) are the top challenges expected to be faced by Winnipeg businesses over the next three months, with smaller firms being even more constrained by debt. Surveys of CEBA loan-holder companies highlight ongoing revenue struggles for many small businesses, loss or break-even operations among food service operators, and a concerning risk of closure for tourism businesses due to mounting debt.

Only four months are left until the CEBA repayment is due on Dec. 31, 2023; the federal government must take swift action in extending the repayment timeline. The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with business and industry associations, urges the government to promptly address this pressing issue.

Read the letter here.

Streamlining Workforce Solutions with the Recognized Employer Pilot (REP)

The Recognized Employer Pilot (REP), part of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), is set to launch in September 2023. This pilot aims to simplify processes for employers addressing labour shortages while upholding worker protections.

Key Benefits:

  • Extended Validity: REP grants up to 36 months of LMIA validity, offering stability in workforce planning.
  • Simplified LMIA: Enjoy a streamlined application process through the LMIA Online Portal, ensuring efficiency in hiring additional workers.
  • Efficient Operations: REP expedites labour market access, strengthens worker protection, and adds flexibility to the Canadian market.


  • Phase One (Starting September 2023): REP covers five specific occupations, providing an initial entry point.
  • Phase Two (Starting January 2024): The list of eligible occupations expands, broadening program access.

Technical briefings will be available for interested stakeholders. To participate, request a briefing at [email protected]. For details, visit https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/recognized-employer.html or contact the Employer Contact Centre. We anticipate this program will positively shape workforce management.

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