State of Businesses and CEBA Loans

Survey Results: State of Businesses and CEBA Loans

On Friday March 3, OCOBIA released a survey link via social media and direct email to Ottawa BIAs.  The survey was shared by sectoral partners (Ontario Restaurant Hotel Motel Association) in Ottawa to support a greater outreach. The targeted number of completed surveys from Ottawa businesses was 100.

The survey closed on Friday March 10, 2023 with 128 completed surveys. The majority of respondents are small businesses who have been operating for more than 6 years, and have less than 50 employees. 69.5% respondents reported that revenues were worse than 2019.

The survey was conducted in response to a growing concern from businesses regarding their state and ability to repay CEBA by December 31, 2023 to receive the 33% forgiveness from the Federal Government Details about CEBA loans can be found here.

OCOBIA was seeking data on local businesses state in order to communicate to policy makers, alongside other national organizations, such as Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Restaurants Canada, International Downtown Association Canada, Ontario BIA Association,  that the businesses are still in recovery and is still not ready to pay back pandemic-related debt  – even by the end of 2023.

Business operation years

The Survey Results:

OCOBIA-CEBA Survey (download PDF)

Number of Years Operating Business

  • 55% of businesses responded have been operating for more than 10 years.
  • 29% respondents have operated their business between 6-10 years

Number of Staff

    • 59% respondents have 1 – 10 employees
    • 21% respondents have 11 – 20 employees
    • 13% have 21 – 50 employees

Business Sectorbusiness sector

  • The majority of respondents were from the hospitality, retail, and personal care services sectors
  • 37% hospitality/food services/accommodation
  • 30% retail
  • 10% personal care services

Revenues Now compared to December 31 2019

  • Revenues are the same as 2019 15%
  • Revenues are worse than 2019 69.5%
  • Revenues are better than 2019 15.5%

Issues Impacting Your Business

Select all issues impacting your business

Issues that are impacting business

“Other” issues identified in responses (listed in Survey PDF):

  • Not enough customers, clientele, foot traffic
  • Input costs have increased

Do you intend to pay the full CEBA repayment by December 31, 2023 to receive the 33% debt forgiveness?

  • 57% yes
  • 36% no

Will the CEBA loan repayment (in full) by December 31, 2023 impact your business?

  • 87.5% yes
  • 7% no
  • 5.5% not applicable (no CEBA)

If yes how will it impact your business (select all that apply):

How will CEBA repayment impact my business

“Other” issues identified in responses (listed in Survey PDF):

  • Not Applicable – 10 responses (survey error – response option not used, per ‘no’ responses in previous question)
  • Will transfer debt to other debt (other line of credit or loan)

View full PDF of survey responses OCOBIA-CEBA SurveyPDF


Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas is an advocate and influencer on issues and policies affecting the economic development and well-being of Ottawa BIAs – and the businesses they represent.


ByWard Market BIA Dissolution and District Formation

My Main Street Completion Celebration