Over 200 CRA workers fired for inappropriately receiving CERB

Those found guilty must 'repay the amounts if they haven't already done so,' says CRA

Over 200 CRA workers fired for inappropriately receiving CERB

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has fired 232 workers for “inappropriately” benefiting from the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) program, according to reports.

The CERB program provided eligible Canadians $2,000 for a four-week period, between March 15 and Sept. 26, 2020.

The CRA also fired workers in 2023 for this violation. By December 2023, 185 workers had already been fired for this act, according to The Canadian Press.

In August 2023, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested a former CRA employee for allegedly manipulating the system to receive COVID-19 benefits from the government while still employed. The resident of Dawson City in Yukon allegedly embezzled nearly $20,000 in CERB and Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB) payments while she was a full-time employee of the CRA in Alberta.

Overall, the CRA is investigating about 600 workers who may have taken advantage of CERB even though they were ineligible, according to a report from CTV News and a report from The Canadian Press.

Among the 600 CRA workers under investigation, 133 employees have been deemed to have properly received the benefit, leaving about 235 files still to be reviewed.

Those ineligible for CERB ‘must repay it’

"Anyone who is found to be ineligible for the CERB must repay it. Any CRA employee who inappropriately applied for and received the CERB will be required to repay the amounts if they haven't already done so," said CRA spokesperson Sylvie Branch in a statement, according to CTV News.

In 2020, the CRA sent letters to 213,000 people who may have applied for the emergency benefit both through the CRA and Service Canada, and received the benefit twice. The letter informed citizens that they have to repay government benefits if they were paid twice through the CERB.

In 2022, Canada's auditor general reported that of the estimated $211 billion in COVID-19 aid that the federal government provided, $4.6 billion in overpayments were made to people who were ineligible to receive those funds, noted CTV News.

Among those who earned at least $5,000 in 2019, 35.2 per cent received CERB payments in 2020, according to a previous report from Statistics Canada (StatCan).

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