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.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during his daily Rideau Cottage address on Tuesday (June 9).

“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

Police are looking to identify suspects in an Oct. 10 report of mischief in at a construction site in the 2800-block of Peatt Road in Langford. (West Shore RCMP handout)
West Shore RCMP seeks suspects after trio spray paints Langford construction site

Three individuals caught on camera hopping a fence on Peatt Road

Norm Scott, president of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch no. 91 in Lanford, pins the first poppy to launch the annual Poppy Campaign on George Baker, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1953 to 1989. Baker said it was an honour to be chosen for something so significant for veterans everywhere. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
Poppy campaign launches in Langford with pinning ceremony

The poppy campaign is officially underway with the first of the pins… Continue reading

A sentencing hearing began for Joel Conway who was convicted of break and enter and sexual assault last year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Saanich man sentenced to three years in prison for breaking into woman’s home and sexually assaulting her

Crown is asking Joel Conway be sentenced to four years for both charges, to be served concurrent

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Cpl. Nathan Berze, media officer for the Mission RCMP, giving an update on the investigation at 11:30 a.m., Oct. 30. Patrick Penner photo.
VIDEO: Prisoner convicted of first-degree murder still at large from Mission Institution

When 10 p.m. count was conducted, staff discovered Roderick Muchikekwanape had disappeared

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

Police service dog Herc helped RCMP locate and arrest suspects in the Ladysmith area on Oct. 23, 2020, related to a stolen vehicle. (Submitted)
RCMP nab prolific property offender in Ladysmith with assist from police dog Herc

Police attempted to stop the vehicle but it fled from the area towards Chemainus.

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday October 28, 2020. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Conversion therapy ban gets approval in principle, exposes Conservative divisions

Erin O’Toole himself voted in favour of the bill, as did most Conservative MPs

Most Read