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Two saskatchewan newspapers on the brink of collapse, unable to repay their loans

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The Prairie Dog newspapers in Regina and Planet S in Saskatoon could be forced to close if they do not raise enough money to repay CEBA loans.

Radio-Canada

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Two independent Saskatchewan newspapers report that they are unable to repay the loan granted by the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) a few days before the deadline. These two companies run the risk of having to cease their activities.

The newspapers Prairie Dog and Planet S are among 29,000 Saskatchewan businesses that have taken out loans from the federal government during the pandemic, with their deadline approaching on January 18.

CEBA allocated interest-free loans of up to $60,000 to businesses during the pandemic. Up to $20,000 can be forgiven if the remainder is repaid by a certain date.

If businesses are unable To achieve this goal, they will have to repay the full loan amount within three years, with an interest rate of 5%.

Stephen Whitworth, editor of Prairie Dog magazine, says the publication is facing an existential crisis and desperately needs more ;help.

The man who dedicated 24 years of work to Regina's biweekly publication says he launched a fundraising campaign on the GoFundMe site, in order to raise $60,000 before the January 18 deadline.

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We did other things to try to raise money, he says. None of them have produced the results we need to remain viable and continue our activities.

With the CEBA loan and a significant amount of debt accumulated from last year's deficits, Whitworth says fundraising is the company's last resort to keep its doors open.

He explains that when the publications first launched they were able to employ full-time staff, but over the years they had to cut costs to stay afloat and make some changes. layoffs.

We have now laid off more staff and are considering laying off ourselves to save money, which will happen probably very soon. We therefore have practically no more staff.

Stephen Whitworth, however, believes that online fundraising will not end his newspapers' financial woes, but it could help slow them down.

Annabel Townsend, owner of a cafe and bookstore, also faces this reality.

She says she struggled to find the funds to repay the loan before the deadline.

Annabel Townsend adds that other steps taken to take out loans to pay those of the government have not been successful.

She believes that her business could have been closed, if she had not received help from her husband. The latter was able to increase his line of credit to $40,000 to help him meet the deadline.

Despite everything, the situation remains complicated, she laments. If I don't repay now, I will be in default with the federal government, which is not a good thing.

Ms. Townsend calls on the federal government to extend the CEBA deadline for small business owners who need more time.

< em>With information from Tyreike Reid

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