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  1. #1
    Senior Member M1917 Enfield's Avatar
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    Aug 2013
    Eastern Ontario

    Government won't forgive CERB repayments over net-gross problem despite messaging mix-up

    Well, not until the next election period and then all bets are off!

    If the Lieberal's feel they are not going to get a majority next time around they may then offer to forgive those 441,000 people they sent warning letters to about CERB repayments.

    Government won't forgive CERB repayments over net-gross problem despite messaging mix-up

    TORONTO -- The federal government is refusing to waive repayments for ineligible CERB recipients who applied for the emergency benefit despite an internal mix-up at the CRA that led to weeks of misinformation.

    Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough’s office said Tuesday that the government decided in December that forgiveness for those who didn’t qualify “wasn’t on the table.”

    “We haven't changed our mind on that,” the minister’s office said in a statement to

    But the statement also kept the door open for the possibility of that stance possibly changing.

    “We have always said that we will look at our options and make a decision once we have all the necessary information.”

    Phil Cox owns a theatrical supply company based in Kitchener, Ont. He received a letter from the CRA in December asking him to repay $14,000 by the end of 2020. But paying that money back is impossible now, Cox said.

    “My landlord has the money. My bank fees have the money. My gas company has the money,” Cox told on Tuesday. “The money isn’t there. It’s not like I’m sitting on this huge stack of cash like Scrooge McDuck. I’m not — it’s gone. We used it to keep our business open.”

    In the first few weeks of the CERB rollout, CRA call-centre agents were given wrong instructions for how self-employed Canadians would be assessed for their eligibility. To be eligible, self-employed Canadians had to have received more than $5,000 in income in 2019 or in the previous 12 months before applying.

    While eligibility was meant to be based off net income after expenses, CRA agents were provided written instructions that incorrectly stated that gross income, not net, was how someone’s eligibility for CERB would be determined. That information was then passed along to callers seeking clarity.

    At the same time, the word “net” didn’t appear on CERB applications or the CRA’s “Who is eligible” page. It wasn’t until sometime after April 21 — more than two weeks after applications opened — that the CRA quietly update a Q&A page to include specific language on net income.

    In December, the CRA told in a statement that “the Government of Canada acknowledges that communications on this topic were unclear in the first days after the CERB was launched. This includes both the CERB webpages, and the information provided to call centre agents.”

    In December, the CRA sent 441,000 “educational” letters warning Canadians who received CERB that they may need to repay the funds by Dec. 31 because the agency was unable to confirm their eligibility.

    Those letters were sent for a variety of reasons beyond the net-gross mix-up. It’s unclear how many Canadians applied for CERB based on inaccurate information.

    With a $14,000 repayment hanging over his head, Cox said he’s now facing some impossible decisions.

    “Do I tell my daughter she can’t keep going to university? Do I sell my car? Do I remortgage my house?”

    One of Cox’s employees stole from the business in 2019, and he had to write off $12,000, which significantly knocked down his income. Between him and his wife, they each brought in more than $5,000 gross income in 2019, but just under $5,000 net income.

    Cox said he wants the government to not only admit that it made a mistake in the early CERB rollout, but to follow through on its promise to stand by small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. He expressed frustration that small Ontario businesses like his are forced to remain closed while big box stores with grocery aisles can keep selling non-essential merchandise.

    “Why not give it back to small Canadian business? Why not just say, ‘Hey, we made a mistake, we’re going to make it right?’” he said.

    More than 4,200 people have signed a formal petition to the House of Commons calling on the federal government to change its stance and retroactively allow applicants who applied for CERB based on their gross income to qualify. The petition has received support from Green Party MP Paul Manly, whose party has called on the government to take a “compassionate approach” to these CERB repayments.

    Having passed the 500-signature threshold, the petition will be presented to the House of Commons. The government is expected to table an official response.

    At least seven unions in the Canadian arts sector have endorsed the petition, including the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the Canadian Federation of Musicians and the Writers' Union of Canada.

    More than 8.9 million Canadians applied for CERB and $81.6 billion was doled out through the program up until September. The government has since rolled out several other aid programs and revamped the employment insurance program to accommodate an estimated 2.1 million people who were receiving CERB.

    For Cox, keeping his business afloat has been immensely challenging. He compared COVID-19 to weathering a storm, but everyone is in their own boats. Some boats are doing just fine, while others, like his, have sprung leaks.

    “For some people, the only thing that’s different for them is they have to wear a mask. For them, their boats are fine. What (the government) is doing with this $14,000 is basically saying, ‘We’re going to let you sink.’”
    Warning! some sarcasm, dry humor, playful banter and more may or may not be involved in my postings. Please read anything I have written as being said in the most joyful and happy voice you can imagine.

  2. #2
    Resident Combine Pilot JustBen's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Stavely, AB
    Sure they won’t. Not yet anyways. I’d wager money on it being part of the carrots dangled during sockboy’s next election bid.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Gunexpert007's Avatar
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    Apr 2014
    The Liberals won't forgive the CERB over payments , but they probably won't pursue repayment either . In a few months , the money will quietly be written off , and nothing more will ever be said about it . It is the Trudeau money and pot for all .
    " Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm. " .... " And I looked , and behold a pale horse ; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him."...." Where we go one , we go all "....

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  6. #4
    Senior Member t_glover's Avatar
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    Jul 2012
    North West B.C.
    My guess would be an amnesty of five or more years to pay it back.

  7. #5
    The Gunsmithing Moderator blacksmithden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    I live among the creatures of the night (Edmonton)
    I claimed it for one month when they were dicking around with our shifts. I was on a 2 week on, 2 week off rotation. When they played musical shift salad maker, just because of the way things worked out, instead of being off for 2 weeks, I was off for 6. I said screw it and applied. So far, no warning letters.
    GOC moderator
    Dealer/co-founder/co-owner of Tundra Supply Ltd.
    June 2013 - The High River Gun Grab - NEVER FORGET !!!!
    Feb 26 2014 - Swiss Arms prohibition and ordered confiscation by the RCMP - NEVER FORGET !!!!!
    May 1 2020 - Liberal un-democratic mass prohibition order in council. - NEVER FORGET !!!!!

  8. #6
    Senior Member
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    Jun 2020
    When thing seem to good to be true ( yaddy yaddy yaddy ) . Taking advantage of ANY government handout is just a recipie for disaster. Apparently there were deposits made into accounts of people that did not apply for it. Standing in line to get hooped by the government never made much sense to me.........
    Nothing will F--k you up as much as the realization that there's no real reason the alphabet needs to be in order !!

    There is no such thing as left over bacon !!

  9. #7
    Señor Member Dewey Cox's Avatar
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    Jan 2013
    Middle East Alberta
    All these things will just get pushed down the road.
    And then the next party to form the government has to collect, and be the bad guy.
    Why does the rest of the country get first dibbs on half my income?

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  11. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey Cox View Post
    All these things will just get pushed down the road.
    And then the next party to form the government has to collect, and be the bad guy.
    Or early enoug into the next government term, that it will be mostly forgotten by the next public vote

  12. #9
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2014
    Quote Originally Posted by Dewey Cox View Post
    All these things will just get pushed down the road.
    And then the next party to form the government has to collect, and be the bad guy.
    Brian Mulrooney with GST!

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