Canada’s big banks started offering the expanded Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) Friday after previous delays getting the program up and running. 

The finance minister made the announcement on Twitter late Thursday.

“We know many small businesses have been waiting patiently in these trying times – help is on the way,” he wrote.

Morneau said the expanded program will be available through more lenders, such as credit unions, in the near future.

The CEBA, which provides interest-free, partially forgivable loans of up to $40,000, has been expanded twice to include more businesses.

Several weeks ago, the government announced the program was to be expanded again to include companies with payrolls of less than $20,000 and with non-deferrable expenses, like rent, utilities and property taxes, of between $40,000 and $1.5 million.

The change was intended to cover owner-operated small businesses that had been ineligible for the program due to their small payrolls, sole proprietors who receive business income directly and family-owned operations that pay family members in the form of dividends.

The expanded program was expected to launch June 19 but was delayed.

With files from The Canadian Press