Statement by Minister Qualtrough on Canada Emergency Response Benefit Advance Payments

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion, today issued the following statement:

“Since the very beginning of this pandemic, the Government of Canada has implemented programs to keep Canadians safe and businesses’ doors open. The quick and decisive actions taken to provide income support through the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) helped more than 8 million workers and their families stay afloat.

In order to get support out to Canadians as quickly as possible, those who applied for the CERB at the beginning of the pandemic through Service Canada received an advance CERB payment. For many, this advance payment was reconciled while they were still receiving the CERB. Service Canada will now begin reaching out directly to those individuals who went off the CERB after returning to work and prior to that payment being reconciled.

Over the next number of months, the Government of Canada will be working with Canadians who may be required to make a repayment. They will work with Canadians to establish flexible repayment schedules if needed, with an eye to their ability to pay. In addition, no penalties or interest will be charged on the emergency benefit overpayment. Canadians will not be put into financial hardship by having to repay emergency benefits they received. Service Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) are there to discuss available options with Canadians. As we work to finish the fight against COVID-19, we will continue to have Canadians’ backs.

At the same time, the Government is committed to the financial stewardship of its programs and has zero tolerance for fraud. The Government’s 2020 Fall Economic Statement included funding for ESDC and the CRA to provide enhanced capacity to detect, address cases of misrepresentation, abuse or fraud related to the CERB. This important work continues.”

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