CERB repayment: No amnesty for ineligible claimants

However, the CRA is looking for ways to 'minimize the impact' of repayment

CERB repayment: No amnesty for ineligible claimants

Canadians who may have claimed the CERB financial aid erroneously will still have to repay the amount they owe – even as politicians call on the federal government to cancel the debt.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) – one of two agencies assigned to grant financial support to struggling workers during the pandemic – expects repayment from the hundreds of thousands of CERB claimants who turned out to be ineligible for the program.

Given the financial strain of the COVID-19 crisis, a number of officials have been calling on the Liberal government to forgive the debt instead.

Read more: Can’t repay CERB before Dec 31? Don’t fret! – CRA

But while the CRA is open to giving CERB recipients more time and flexibility in their repayment scheme on a case-by-case basis, the agency has no plans yet to grant amnesty to the 213,000 ineligible recipients, according to Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough.

“We are not currently contemplating an amnesty, but we are looking to find ways to minimize the impact,” Qualtrough said.

Annamie Paul of the Green Party earlier urged the CRA to review applications since the claimants filed their application in “good faith”.

‘The rules did not change’

Beneficiaries aren’t required to pay the money they owe by Dec. 31 – the deadline set by the CRA – but they are encouraged to settle their account before the year ends to avoid being issued a tax slip.

Read more: CERB is taxable – here’s how to calculate taxes on the benefit

Financial experts have advised recipients right from the start to save a portion of their CERB payments for taxes since CERB is a taxable benefit. Ineligible claimants will therefore have to pay back their CERB debt lest they receive an unnecessary tax notice.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weighed in on the issue: “The rules did not change, but we indicated to Canadians that we will work with them if people made good-faith mistakes.”

Meanwhile, Qualtrough said she is “committed as ever to working with citizens in a dignified way on repayment plans”.

Recent articles & video

Total rewards in a career journey

Employee-employer trust gap widening – here’s what HR can do

Alberta launches new compensation model for doctors

Court orders city government to lift ‘nasty and wrong’ ban on contractor

Most Read Articles

Quebec teacher fired for joining ‘Survivor’ reality series

Why is Ontario’s gender pay gap ‘stuck’ at 32%?

Nearly three-quarters of middle managers in Canada experiencing burnout: survey