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N.S. beef farmer says federal government's 'complacency' to blame for loan denial

Reference: CBC News

A Nova Scotia beef farmer who's been denied a $40,000 federal aid loan says he's the victim of discrimination because he does business through a personal account.

John Bruce of Middleton applied for the $40,000 under the Canada Emergency Business Account, also known as CEBA. The federal government set it up to provide interest-free loans for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

But the local Scotiabank branch reminded Bruce since he doesn't have a business account, he doesn't qualify.

"They say they have no communication with the Department of Finance on how to proceed to change and accept eligibility from people using personal accounts," he said.

"I sometimes hate to defend a bank, but I think the incompetence or complacency is coming out of Ottawa."

In August, the Finance Department hinted it was sympathetic to small-business owners like Bruce.

An Aug. 31 news release said "the government is working closely with financial institutions to make the CEBA program available to those with qualifying payroll or non-deferrable expenses that have so far been unable to apply due to not operating from a business banking account."

But the department has yet to officially ease the restriction. No one from the department was available for comment Wednesday.

Bruce raises beef cattle on his family farm just outside Middleton. He also grows soybeans, hay and grain. He expects prices for all his crops to be down due to international trade restrictions and a generally depressed demand.

"If cattle prices go in the toilet and I have to keep my feeder cattle, I'll have to buy feed to feed them through the winter.... And hopefully when a period comes that I can then sell the cattle, hopefully it won't be a loss," he said... Read More