New documents from the Trudeau Liberals reveal that 4,637 COVID cheques were sent to Canadians living abroad, and a further 15,409 cheques were sent to deceased individuals.
The numbers and cost of the cheques were released as part of a response to an order paper question lodged by Conservative MP Jamie Schmale (Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock) with regard to the government's COVID-19 relief payments.
Last month, Schmale asked:
With regard to cheques or payments made to individuals with addresses outside of Canada and to a CTV news report of April 2021 on a Canadian family who has been living in New Zealand for the past 18 years and received a COVID-19 benefit cheque addressed to their disabled daughter who died in 2009, despite never applying for any financial aid:
(a) how many cheques or payments were made to individuals with addresses outside of Canada, broken down by program;
(b) how many cheques or payments were made to people who never applied for financial aid, broken down by program;
(c) what measures, if any, were taken to ensure that the payments made in (a) and (b) were not made to individuals who were deceased prior to 2020; and
(d) how many COVID-19 relief payments has the government made to people who died prior to the pandemic, and what is the total value of those payments, broken down by program?
Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) responded with an explanation of the automatic payments handed out to eligible individuals with a 2020 Disability Tax Credit (DTC) or benefiting from one of several similar programs. Eligible individuals received payments without any application, attestation or notification.
Number of Canadians Paid While Living Abroad: 4,637
In response to the question asking how many individuals with “addresses outside of Canada” received payments, ESDC tallied the number at 4,637.
According to the response, the government pointed to out-of-date address information to explain some of their payments:
...in some cases, information for persons with disabilities may not have been up-to-date because the Government did not receive the individual’s updated personal information, or because of late or incomplete tax filing.
Deceased Individuals Receive $9M in Payments
ESDC found that a total of 15,409 deceased individuals were sent money “regardless of the date of death in 2020”.
Clients with a valid 2020 DTC certificate are eligible for the entire calendar year, meaning from January 1 to December 31. As such, the estate is entitled to claim the DTC when preparing the deceased’s 2020 income tax and benefit return. Similarly, if an individual eligible for the DTC passed away during this qualifying period, the estate is eligible to receive this one-time payment regardless of the date of death in 2020.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as a global pandemic on March 11, 2020.
The table below represents payments made to the estate in cases where the persons with disabilities passed away prior to that date.
In total, $9,208,500 was transferred to 15,409 recipients.
You can read the full response for yourself below.