A federal pandemic business loan is coming due. Some in N.S. can’t afford to pay

Small businesses in Nova Scotia are bracing for Jan. 18, the date Canadian Emergency Business Account loan repayments come due.

The federal money was given to small businesses and not-for-profits in April 2020 to help lessen the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown. The money has to be repaid by Jan. 18 in order to receive loan forgiveness of up to $20,000.

Duncan Robertson, a senior policy analyst with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in Nova Scotia, told CBC’s Information Morning Halifax this week that four in 10 businesses in Nova Scotia will be able to pay back the loan, a quarter will have to borrow money to get the loan forgiveness, two in 10 won’t be able to make the deadline and the rest don’t know what will happen.

“If they do miss that January deadline, they will go from having $40,000 debt on Jan. 18 to $60,000 debt,” Robertson said.

“They’ll have to pay that five per cent interest and then they’ll have until Dec. 31, 2026 to fully repay that CEBA loan.”

Robertson said the federation is concerned for the more than 16,000 small Nova Scotia businesses that took the loan and were counting on the forgivable portion. He said they’re hoping the federal government will extend the forgivable loan by a year so businesses have time to catch up.

“When they took that loan, we weren’t really sure what the economic realities would be and now many are faced with high costs and rising interest rates, so we’re asking government to take that into account … we found that would benefit around 95 per cent of businesses that took that loan,” said Robertson.

‘Bad time for a lot of small businesses’

The Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia said half of the establishments are either just breaking even or operating at a loss.

“With increased expenses across the board and high debt loads, many businesses will not be able to pay back their CEBA loans by the determined deadline,” the restaurant association said in a statement. “We urge the Federal Government to extend the repayment deadline as restaurants continue to recover from closures during the pandemic and navigate challenges in the industry.”

Brendan Doherty, the owner of Edible Matters and The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse, said the loan repayments are coming at “a terrible time for small businesses.” He said the loans were “a lifeline that kept

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N.S. business owner furious, calls planned 4-day power outage ‘ludicrous’ – Halifax

A small business owner says she is “steamed” that a planned Nova Scotia Power maintenance outage will leave her business in the dark for four workdays.

On Outram and Esplanade Streets in Truro, a planned outage for system upgrading is set to last from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Sarah Coleman says her store Calling Corner New Age Boutique is located right on the corner of the two streets.

It will be one of three business among 12 customers hit with the seven-hour outages for four-straight days.

“This is ludicrous. There’s no way that should be a four-day event,” said Coleman.

Calling Corners is a tarot and crystal shop in Truro, N.S.

Submitted by Sarah Coleman

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Coleman has shut down her store for Monday, as she initially thought the outage would last just the one day.

She said she was not informed of the four-day-long outages by Nova Scotia Power, but found out from a Facebook post made by another business owner in the area.

Calling for communication, empathy

Coleman said that on March 8, one of her staff texted her that Nova Scotia Power came in and informed them that power would be out on Monday.

When receiving the information, Coleman contacted customer support, who she said confirmed they saw a planned outage for Monday — nothing else.

Notice of the outages on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday came as a shock.

“Monday would have been an inconvenience,” Coleman said. “The majority of the week… takes away our entire staff’s paychecks. This is my only form of livelihood at the moment.

“There was no regard that I could see… I don’t know, It just didn’t seem like they cared.”

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Utility board defies Nova Scotia government, allows 14 per cent power rate hike

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Nova Scotia Power spokesperson Jacqueline Foster said in an email statement their team has been working with the town of Truro on the planned outage.

“This is for a capital project on Outram Street where we are rebuilding the power line. The planned outage is needed so our crews can complete the work safely,” Foster wrote.

“We appreciate outages are inconvenient for customers even when they’re planned. We have done as much work ahead of time as possible, including digging

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