Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to questions during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Monday June 8, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Fines, punishment for CERB ‘fraudsters,’ not people who made mistakes: Trudeau

Some people may have received both CERB and wage subsidy

The prime minister said the federal government would not punish Canadians who mistakenly ended up with more COVID-related benefits than they were entitled to.

Justin Trudeau made the announcement during his daily Rideau Cottage address on Tuesday.

“The Canada Emergency Response Benefit was put in place in a way we knew would maximize the speed with which it would reach the millions who needed it,” Trudeau said, acknowledging that there were not a lot of upfront background or eligibility checks.

After a draft bill was leaked on Monday, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he would not support a bill that would punish people who made fraudulent claims.

On Tuesday morning, Trudeau said the people who “mistakenly took the CERB and the wage subsidy… those people will just have to pay back.”

Some Canadians could have ended up with both as they first applied for CERB as they were laid off, and then were rehired and received the wage subsidy, which their employer applied for.

“We’re not looking at punishing people who made mistakes, Trudeau said, but rather “deliberate fraudsters.”

The prime minister said those fraudsters were “criminals who will deliberately try to take advantage of a moment… when we’re in crisis by defrauding the system.”

The CERB was unveiled by the prime minister on March 25, with the first round of payments in bank accounts within the first half of April. People who applied for EI prior to the CERB’s announcement were switched over to the new benefit, which promised $500 a week for people who lost their jobs for COVID-related reasons.

Applications for the wage subsidy opened on April 27 – more than one month after the CERB was announced. Funding began flowing to employers at the start of May.

The wage subsidy was meant to cover payroll only, paying out 75 per cent of each employee’s salary, up to $847 per week.

READ MORE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

ALSO READ: Amid anti-racism protests, Trudeau promises to push police body cameras with premiers


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CoronavirusJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

As postponed NHL season resumes, some fans say the lure of parties will be strong

EDMONTON — As hockey fans gear up for a truncated season to… Continue reading

Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

Look out, Mars: Here we come with a fleet of spacecraft

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Mars is about to be invaded by planet… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

David Marsden: The remaking of Westerner Park

Red Deer residents have been tested by the COVID-19 pandemic in innumerable… Continue reading

Opinion: Anxiety is on the rise as COVID-19 support dries up

The interview with Navdeep Bains kicked off with pandemic pleasantries about how… Continue reading

Garage sale

Our Lady of Peace Parish will hold a multi-family garage sale fundraiser… Continue reading

Washington NFL team dropping ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

WASHINGTON — The Washington NFL franchise announced Monday that it will drop… Continue reading

Canadian forward Evelyne Viens savours NWSL debut at Challenge Cup

A prolific goal-scorer in college, Canadian forward Evelyne Viens has kicked off… Continue reading

In libel case, Depp says Heard hit him with ‘haymaker’ punch

LONDON — Johnny Depp accused Amber Heard of hitting him with a… Continue reading

Kelly Preston, actor and wife of John Travolta, dies at 57

LOS ANGELES — Kelly Preston, who played dramatic and comic foil to… Continue reading

Canmore RCMP respond to multiple hiking injury calls this weekend

EMS and RCMP responded to three separate and unrelated hiking accidents in Kananaskis Country.

Most Read